We spend most of our lives sitting down, especially if we have a desk job. Increase your health with these tips to help you be active.
We all know that sitting all day isn’t healthy. Study after study comes out every year reconfirming this fact. You would think the grant money would run out. Unfortunately, most of us still aren’t taking this health risk seriously. We continue to plop ourselves down in front of our big screens, computers, and dashboards hour after hour. I’m sitting even now, as I write this, because it’s easier to type while sitting. It’s time to get up and move around!
We spend 50 to 70% of each day sitting thanks to modern conveniences like computers, desks, chairs, cubicles, car seats, and flat screen televisions in front of comfy couches. These were designed to make office work easier and home life relaxing but weren’t really designed to be kind to our anatomy in the long run. Sitting for extended periods slows down the metabolism, inhibits kidney function, and cuts off circulation, impairing the movement of lymph fluid and blood throughout our bodies.
People who sit more than eleven hours a day are two times more likely to develop diabetes or heart disease. As you sit and your metabolism slows, you gain weight, your cholesterol sky-rockets, and your digestive system runs into difficulties. As your circulation is impaired, toxins build up in your blood and tissues, damaging your heart, veins, kidneys, liver, and contributing to more weight gain as your body tries to lock toxins away within fat cells.
Exercise doesn’t completely counteract these problems. Don’t get me wrong, exercise always helps. It speeds metabolism, builds muscle, improves circulation, lowers cholesterol, and aids in the removal of toxins, but it does not undo an otherwise sedentary lifestyle. Sitting all the time is that bad for you.
The solution is pretty simple:
Stand up more often!
Even if you can only manage a couple minutes away from that chair or sofa, it will do wonders for your health and longevity. I mentioned above that I was sitting while writing this, but twenty minutes ago, I sprinted through the office, making dinosaur noises, and being a nuisance. About two hours before that, I sneaked up on coworkers like a ninja. Why? Because it’s healthy, fun, and obnoxious. If your job doesn’t let you be an annoyance just for the fun and health of it, here are a few other ideas.
Drink plenty of water
Hydration is crucial to your circulation and the removal of toxins. As a bonus, the more often you need to get up to use the bathroom, the better. Take the scenic route when the next call of nature comes and take advantage of a perfectly good excuse to be up and about.
Walk to work if you can
If you live close enough, walk. If you ride a bus, train, or subway, stand up during the ride and maybe get off one stop early. Riding a bike is also better than driving. If you must drive, park as far away as possible so you must hoof it to and from work at least twice a day, four if you leave for lunch.
Stand while at your desk
Put a chair on your desk and your computer on that chair. This lets you continue working while remaining relatively comfortable. Yes, coworkers may look at you funny, but your health is more important that looking slightly silly. They’ll get used to it and maybe even follow suit.
Stand and walk for calls
Whether it’s a call from home or a conference call with Tokyo, get used to standing and walking about during any call you receive or make.
Take the stairs
Yes, you’re still standing in the elevator, but exercise always adds a little more, and you’ll be standing a bit longer on the stairs than on that elevator ride.
Take walking breaks
Several times a day, stand up and take a stroll through or around the office. If you need to ask a coworker a question, walk to them rather than sending an IM or email. It’s healthier and more social.
Stand and stretch
Get up every 20 to 30 minutes to stretch. You can also jog, march, or walk in place. Jumping jacks are an even better option to get your heart pumping and your circulation moving again.
Take active meetings
If it’s a small meeting with two to four people, take it outdoors and stroll along as you discuss next month’s marketing plan or how to speed up operations. You’ll be up, active, and getting a dose of vitamin D while you’re at it.
The office isn’t the only place we need to stand more often. When you’re away from the office, try a few of these tips to keep from sitting too long at home.
Pick an active hobby
Dancing, yoga, martial arts, hiking, biking, rock climbing, building a teardrop trailer in your garage (yep, that’s mine), and many more hobbies will keep you standing and moving. Pick something you love, and you’ll get exercise without noticing.
Stand during commercials
Use those annoying advertising breaks to stand up, walk around a bit, and maybe even do some jumping jacks, march in place, or jump rope.
Exercise during shows
Do some light or even intensive work outs that keep you standing while you watch your favorite show. Your heart will thank you.
Park farther away
If you choose parking spots a bit farther from your destination everywhere you go, you will be walking and standing longer than if you jump on the closest spot possible. While you’re at it, take the stairs wherever possible. That means you do this at the grocery store, mall, movie theater, school, gym, copy center, restaurant, and even your home.
Fresh air dilates air sacs and improves the cleansing action in the lungs. The stronger your lungs, the more effective your oxygen usage becomes. Getting outside sends clean air pumping through you and circulates more minerals and oxygen throughout your entire body to sooth your nerves, clear your mind, and concentrate your thoughts. Your thinking becomes clearer and more focused with a few minutes out in the fresh air.
Take a walk
Walking alters serotonin in the brain to improve well-being and happiness. As you breathe deeply you also exhale impurities and move more lymph fluid and blood around. This aids cellular metabolism, detoxifies our cells, and strengthens the immune system. If you walk in nature, you get even more stress relieving benefits.
You may come up with even more ideas. Whatever you do, get up and move more often. The saying “move it or lose it” holds more truth than you know. Physically inactive people age earlier, die younger, and are more prone to backaches, ulcers, lung cancer, appendicitis, prostatic disorders, psychiatric illness, cirrhosis of the liver, and hemorrhoids. Death from coronary heart disease occurs twice as often among the physically inactive. So try these tips, stand up, get moving, and stay healthy.
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