Chances are you don’t think of yourself as living a sedentary lifestyle but if you sit behind a desk most days, you could be wrong.
Going to the gym and getting a half hour of exercise each day isn’t enough activity to offset the affect sitting on your butt all day can have. Consider how much we are seated in a given day; we sit in the car to run errands, sit on the train or bus when going into the city, sit in an office chair for 9 or more hours per day, and then sit on the sofa to relax after a long day of work.
Research shows that sitting too much is linked with several health problems like obesity, high blood pressure, excessive body fat, and high cholesterol. Studies also have revealed that working out regularly doesn’t really help negate the harmful effects of sitting behind a desk all day.
So what can be done to prevent a sedentary life from killing you? There are many things you can do to keep the blood flowing each day:
Focus on good posture. Sitting up straight with your shoulders back and your knees bent at 45 degrees helps maintain the curve in your spine. Avoid slouching by keeping your back against the back of the chair. Your chair should also include a lumbar support of some kind. If your chair doesn’t offer built in lumbar support, you can purchase lumbar pillows or simply roll up a hand towel and place it in your lower back to keep the curve in your lower back supported.
Incorporate regular movement into your daily routine. Make it a point to stand up and walk around every 20 minutes. Your body needs a break from holding the correct posture for a long period of time. Stand up to get a drink of water, practice your yoga moves, or to make a healthy snack. Another opportunity to walk around when you work from home is when you’re on the phone. If your meeting doesn’t require you to take notes, walk around the house while you talk.
Sit on an unstable seat. Consider sitting on an exercise ball that reaches the same height as your regular desk chair. Or take a look at a ball chair.
The ball requires you to adjust your weight and engage your core to keep a good posture. These subtle movements make you less sedentary and can help increase your blood flow.
Work while standing up. Take your laptop to the kitchen counter and stand; small changes like this get the blood flowing. You can use a standing desk, but if you’re on a budget, the kitchen counter is a great alternative.
Stretch regularly. Set daily reminders to stretch every hour for a couple of minutes. Stretch your neck, shoulders, and back. Try some of these exercises next time you need a little movement.
Limit time spent on the couch. After a long day of work, the last thing you should do for your health is sit on the sofa, watching endless hours of TV. Get outside, walk around the block, play basketball with your friends, or go to an exercise class. The point is to get up and get moving!
We want to hear from you! What do you do to combat a sedentary lifestyle?
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