When God or Man or Science first created our bodies, they designed us to move. Whether it was for hunting or gathering, our bodies were designed mechanically to function to serve us for our own survival. A couple of hundred thousand years later and we find ourselves moving less. Everything is so easily accessible to us so there is no need for us to move.
Have you ever stopped to think about how much you are sitting during a day? For majority of people sitting makes up a larger portion of our day. Some research suggests that we are sitting on average more than we are sleeping, 9 hours and 20 minutes versus 7 hours. Can you think of the last time you got up off your chair today? Maybe you should stand up to read this.
PROLONGED SITTING EFFECTS
If we sit for longer than 6 hours, these are the effects that happen to our bodies:
- Electrical activity decreases in our legs
- Calorie burning drops to 1 per minute
- Digestive enzymes decrease
When you add days, weeks and years the longer-term effects include:
- Fatigue from reduced blood flow from holding the muscles of the neck, shoulders and torso in a fixed position
- Poor posture and biomechanics which leads to neck, shoulder and lower back pain
- Fitness levels decrease
- Heart and lung efficiency reduces
Now if you’re thinking that after you’ve finished a long day in the office that going to complete a vigorous workout would counteract the entire sitting you’ve done in the day, unfortunately all the evidence says otherwise.
“Prolonged time spent in sedentary behaviours has been consistently shown as an independent risk factor for increased cardiometabolic risk and all-cause mortality, whereas breaking up sedentary time is associated with improved cardiometabolic profile.’’ (Benatti, Ried-Larson 2015)
So what to do? …You sit less!
Here are some tips to help you out:
- Stand more. An example of this is using a standing desk. A client has used this and has reported of less lower back aggravations of time and frequency since implementing this. Also, your body will burn 10% more calories instead of sitting.
- Stand up every 20 minutes, three times per hour. Set up a reminder in your appointments or Outlook to remind you to stand up.
- Drink more water! Not only is it good for your health but also drinking more will cause you to go to the toilet more. A great way to get out of your chair!
- Stand while you are on the phone
These techniques and solutions seem simple, but the effects may be profound. Like everything it will become habitual. The more we move, the more we will want to move! The stresses of life can overtake us sometimes, but it is important to look after ourselves. If you haven’t already stood up while you are reading this, it's time to get up!