Last month we posted an article on the dangers of sitting and next week I am presenting a lunch and learn on the same topic. I am a bit obsessed with this subject because the more I research it, the more apparent it becomes to me how dangerous sitting is for our health. Sitting for a full day really has the same negative effect on your health as smoking a pack and a half a day. It significantly increases your risk for diabetes, heart disease, blood clots, cancer, depression, weight gain and back pain.
One of the disappointing facts is that while exercising for a hour in your day has many health benefits, its doesn’t completely compensate for the fact that you are sitting for most of the day. I think the other thing that concerns me, is that the majority of my patients are still sedentary – so I hope this blog will serve as a wake up call to get moving.
What is the solution? The first step is becoming aware of how much you are sitting. How much time do you spend in the chair – eating, driving, working, relaxing? The average person sits for about 9 hours a day! It is also important to be aware how much you actually move? Using a device like a Fitbit or app on your phone that counts your steps can be helpful. It is recommended that we take about 10,000 steps a day. How many steps do you take?
Research shows that just getting up and moving around every 30 minutes improves your circulation and changes your internal chemistry and hormones to benefit your health. Set a timer on your phone or your computer to make sure you get up and move every 30 minutes. Stand up and do some stretches. Reach for the sky, bend to the side, flex your neck, march your feet. Never sit for more than an hour. After each hour get up and walk around.
Using a standing desk has shown to be beneficial. I am writing this while standing at my kitchen counter. While just standing still may not be that helpful, what researchers discovered was that most people will shift around when they stand. They are also more likely to walk around more frequently. If you don’t have a standing desk, just try standing whenever you can for as long as you can.
Lastly – make exercise a priority. I know you’re busy and it’s hard to find the time, but nothing is more important than your health and nothing benefits your health more than exercise. Our bodies were designed to move. Going to the gym a couple of times a week is not enough. Try to do some regular exercise for 30 minutes six to seven days a week. Yes you heard me right – you need to move your body through space every day! The more intense the better, but even walking beats sitting. Post your comments below to let us know what changes you’re going to make, and also to inspire others.
And remember – if pain is holding you back or you’re not sure where to start or what to do, that’s why we’re here. At Bayview North Family Chiropractic our goal is to help you be the healthiest, strongest, happiest you, you can be!