We are probably all quite aware of the destructive effect that a sedentary lifestyle can have on your overall health, leaving you potentially more prone to both serious ailments like heart disease and obesity and lesser but still harmful damaging effects on your mind, sleep cycle and organs. In fact Women’s Health Magazine cites that “women who sit for more than six hours a day have a roughly 40% higher risk of dying from any cause, regardless of their fitness level, versus those who sit for fewer than three hours.”
Now that is both a) scary, and b) totally unfair! Even if you are an avid exerciser, 3-5x per week, the reality of the world we live in is that when you are not exercising (most of your day), you are either at a job, most often at a desk, or managing your family via email, bill paying, etc…again, likely at a desk. No one can be faulted for doing what they need to do, but Dr. James Levine, a professor of medicine at Mayo Clinic told WH magazine that “The human body evolved to move around. Yes, there are times to sit, but we put our feet up now more than ever. It’s unnatural and hazardous to our health.”
Okay, fine…I hear you, but most of us still will need to be sitting at our desk at work or managing our household – no fair that this puts us at more risk than someone who’s job requires them to be on their feet. Well, never fear…there are a few simple things you can do to take the first step (no pun intended) toward a less sedentary lifestyle…because after all, as always, we promote finding the small changes to take that could have a more major effect long term, rather than chasing a total lifestyle-shift that will end up unsustainable.
Women’s Health helps us find some fabulous, mini, get-moving moves, to start the change!
- iIf you think your boss will go for it, ask for a desk you can use while standing – or swap your chair for a stability ball and work that core!
- Use the restroom farthest from your office, and drink extra water…both to stay hydrated and also sneakily increase the number of trips you’ll have to take! Hey, every step counts!
- Send your documents to a printer on another floor and take the stairs
- Create a screen saver that reminds you to stand up and stretch
- Handle your managing tasks (bill paying, emailing) while standing
- Pace around the house while you talk on the phone
- Carry in your grocery bags one at a time…and tell yourself it’s for your health, even if it’s inefficient!
- Take a few minutes to make your bed every day
- Chop your own veggies instead of buying precut produce
Thanks to this month’s (Sept 2012) issue of Women’s Health Magazine for promoting this idea and finding some simple solutions to take a step in the right direction!