Is sitting really the new smoking? Find out what the research says in this #diduknowlink Friday post.
From driving to work…to sit at a desk…to drive home…and watch TV/browse the web. Sleep. Repeat.
For a lot of us (myself included), this is a day in the life of a 9 to 5-er. No matter what your day to day includes, it all involves one common theme.
Believe it or not we actually do more sitting during the day than we do sleeping. The average person spends 9.3 hours sitting and only 7.7 hours sleeping. 9 hours on the baby got back you busted out with all dem squats! All I’ve got to say is all this sitting is such a crock of……….
…Bologna. (FYI Sitting on the couch as I rant about this). I’m here to fill you in on why “sitting is the new smoking” and what you can do about it for this month’s edition of ‘Did You Know’ Friday!
A long long time ago (when I can still remember…) in the land of BT [before technology] we were moving more just because we had to. I’m not even talking paleo times here. Milking cows, planting, weeding, walking to the market. Just living life. Nowadays everything is done at the touch of a button, instantaneously. I’m guilty of throwing a mild tantrum when a website takes longer than 5 seconds to load. “WHAT IS THIS DIAL-UP?!”
And this sedentary lifestyle has shown us its dark side with the havok it plays on our health, weight, and preventative diseases. Just some of the effects of sitting too much include:
-Increased risk for heart disease
-Increased risk for diabetes
-Increased cancer risks
An Australian study of 9,000 men showed that for each additional hour spent sitting in front of the television increased the risk of dying by 11%.
Australia a little too down under for you? A study at the University of South Carolina showed that those who reported being sedentary for 23+ hours a week had a 64% greater risk of dying from heart disease than those who reported being sedentary for <11 hours a week. And the kicker? These stats are just based on the amount of time spent sitting regardless of exercise.
Yeah. Those squats mean squat if your sitting on the tight and toned buttocks all day long. The act of sitting requires little to no energy and has been shown to actually slow down the process of burning fat. All things lead to increased risk for serious health conditions.
Now this one seriously hits home for me. Ever since I gained the dreaded freshman 15 (is this like a right of passage? I’m pretty sure I got an A in that one), I have regularly been more active throughout the day. Walking to class from my dorm, and then later my apartment downtown. Running around campus. Then my internship at UConn lead to walking EVERYWHERE since that campus could eat my college for breakfast. It took me at least 15 minutes each way just to get a meal, so that’s an easy 90 minutes of walking alone.
And then off to Alabama for my dietetic internship where I would walk downtown during my lunch break and then every night with the roomie.
…and then I got a big girl job. Which put me in front of a computer for the majority of my days. My clothes got a little tighter. My energy took a dive bomb. And made my daily workouts a god send to just move my body. I took to walking first thing in the morning, which helped but I still struggle with moving more throughout the day.
If you find yourself in the same predicament here’s some tips and tools that I have found and will start using if I’m not already to stay active more throughout the day.
So if you have to be at a desk anyways here are some apps that can help alert you to take a break, get up and stretch, or even just take your eyes of the screen for a few seconds.
Eyelo is a program that lets you take short and long breaks to rest your eyes and prevent strain from staring at the screen too long. You can even disable your screen so you’ll be forced to get up and move!
Like eyelo, workrave lets you set up times to take short or longer breaks. What’s even better is that it prompts you with a notification of when your next break is coming up and even gives you exercises you can do during them.
Now if you are equipped (and especially if your work will pay for it) you can opt for a treadmill desk.
If I had a home office I would definitely invest in one of these. Another good option is a standing desk which might be more applicable and user friendly.
Since neither was an option for me, I swapped out my office chair for a stability ball. It engages your core and forces you to focus on your posture. While it’s a little low for my desk, I can definitely feel the difference. And since it requires more work, it forces me to get up and stand more often.
-Popular options like the fitbit or polar loop which track your daily steps but also alert you when you have been inactive for too long. I really want to invest in one of these as they also track your sleep patterns which I think would be neat to look at.
Some other steps (waka waka) that you could take to get up more often are:
-Park your car further away wherever you go.
-Take the stairs instead of elevator
-Have walking meetings or walk to lunch if possible
-Stand while talking on the phone
-Spend half of your lunch time going for a walk
-Get up and stretch or walk around every hour
Every little bit helps, and even 2 minutes every hour can have drastic effects on lowering the risk for heart disease and other health issues.
Okay I’ve been typing for waaayyy too long in the realm of Sinful Nutrition so I need to get up and move! While you stand with me, check out all the other great topics and link-up yours in the process!
And if you haven’t yet, there is still time to enter to win a Bondi band here. The winner will be announced Monday.
Make it a great day!
Do you have a desk job or are you always moving?
What little ways do you stay active?