If you’re like me, you sit for endless hours at your computer. The practice of sitting and not moving your body on a regular basis, at least every 1.5 to 2 hours, is one of the tragedies of our modern technological lifestyle.
Researchers followed over 17,000 people for 13 years and found that people who sit most of
the day increase their risk of dying from a heart attack by a whopping 54%, according to Pennington Biomedical Research Center. Even a larger study was confirmed by The American Cancer Society following more than 123,000 people for 14 years. The study found that women who sat for more than six hours a day were 40% more likely to die, and men increased their risk of dying by 20 percent.
If those statistics aren’t enough to get you moving, maybe this is – people who exercised regularly but spent their day sitting still had an increased risk of dying – in other words, you cannot undo the damage of sitting all those hours...click to continue reading...
Okay, by now you’re asking, “what happens to the body to cause these devastating effects”?
According to Dr. Hamilton of the University of Missouri in Columbia, “The fat will recirculate in the blood stream and get stored as body fat or it can clog arteries and cause disease. The existing data, by numerous studies, are starting to show that the rates of heart disease, diabetes and obesity are doubled, or sometimes tripled, in people who sit a lot.”
The longer you sit, the more of your metabolism shuts down – degrading the longer you keep from moving. What needs to be taken into consideration is the entire time sitting – at work, home and driving. When you move your body, your muscles actually use the fat and the result naturally energizes your mind and body.
Let’s think about the average day in a busy person’s life. You probably drive extensively
as part of your job or your commute, you sit at your job and then get home exhausted,
tired, drained, mentally and physically spent…and all you did was sit. For those professions that do heavy physical work, they may have aches and pains from sore muscles but they actually have a healthier work activity than those who sit.
Not only is moving good for your heart and overall health, it actually increases work
performance. Research conducted over a seven-week study supplied a sit-to-stand
adjustable ergonomic desk unit to see if changing positions helped performance. The
workers reported feeling better mentally, more focused, healthier and more energized.
The easiest way to remember to get up and move is to set an alarm, either a stand-alone or
the alarm on your computer or portable device. From my clinical experience, I find its best to get up and move every 45 minutes for at least 5-10 minutes of stretching or moving. I personally get up and jump on my rebounder for 10 minutes several times a day. This exercise is easy to do, convenient to store in a corner and is unparalleled in stimulating the entire body, particularly the lymphatic system. This simple exercise has been said to be a facelift for your cells because it not only stimulates them but also adds oxygen. The secret is to ONLY pump your heels into the mat to the rhytym of your heart beat and then alternate feet, always keeping the ball of the foot and toes on the mat. This is not the type of exercise done by children on a trampoline where they fly up into the air -- great for children, not good for adults because of the stress on bones and joints and propensity for injuries.
It doesn’t have to be difficult to move your body. Hopefully the following suggestions will find their way into your daily routine.
- Rebound every 45 minutes to each hour;
- Stand and move while on the telephone;
- Get up and refill your water bottle;
- Take the stairs instead of the elevator where available;
- Gently stretch every time you get up, especially neck, shoulders, arms and legs if you
- Where appropriate while you’re up getting coffee or water, speak with a co-worker. A
10-minute conversation improves memory by stimulating your brain. Social interaction improves cognitive function. For those of you who talk with people all day, your rejuvenation comes from going to a quiet spot to regroup;
- Place items used several times a day out of arms reach to force you to get up and
- Use an articulating foot rest; it’s easy to keep your legs moving without any
conscious effort, naturally.