Stand Up!

23 Apr

I recently read an article in The Atlantic (thanks to Andrew from My Lymphoma Journey for posting a link to it) that disturbed, intrigued, and surprised me.  We’ve all been told that being active is crucial to good health – that it’s important to make regular exercise a part of your weekly, if not daily, routine.  We know that, and a lot of us take it to heart and do just that.

What I didn’t know is how bad it is for us to sit as much as we do.  I assumed that, as long as you incorporated exercise into your life habits, you were doing everything you could for your health from an activity standpoint.  Apparently, I my assumption was incorrect – or more accurately put, it was incomplete.

It seems sitting is not good for us and we (as a society in general) sit too much.  A few key points from the article (which is taken from an ongoing study being conducted by the Sax Institute):

  • Your risk of dying within the next 3 years increases by 40% when you sit more than 11 hours per day compared to people who sat less than 4 hours per day.
  • Although people who exercise regularly reduce their risk, but saw an increase in risk the more they sat each day.

I read the article in The Atlantic and found myself growing very uneasy with what it stated.  I grew uneasy because I have a “sitting” job.  I work at a computer most of the day which means that I sit for extended periods of time.  I would estimate that 90 – 95% of my work day involves sitting, either at my desk or in meetings.  Add to that the time I spend sitting for meals, sitting in the car going to and from work, sitting in front of the computer researching for and writing this blog :) and it adds up.

Yikes!

I did a little searching to see what else I could find related to sitting and it’s effects on our health.  I found an interesting infographic on Mashable.com that pointed out a few additional facts worth noting:

  • Sitting only burns 1 calorie per hour – basically no calories.
  • It’s not as much the sitting on the job that is harmful, it’s the sitting during our leisure time that pushes us into the danger zone.
  • Those who watch 3 hours of TV per day and also exercise are just as overweight as those who sit in front of the TV for 3 hours per day and do not exercise.

So, what can we do to prevent or stop ourselves from sitting so much, especially during the day when many of us are tied to our desks?

  • Take breaks throughout the day to walk around.  If you have to, set a reminder on your computer to notify you when it’s time to take a moving break.
  • Look for opportunities to use your body instead of a vehicle or other mode of transportation (i.e., take the stairs instead of the escalator, walk to lunch instead of driving).
  • Stand up while talking on the phone or doing other tasks, if possible.  We have someone in our office who uses a standing desk.  I don’t know that I would want to stand ALL the time at work, but it’s an interesting idea.

This article motivated me to make a some changes to my daily routine.  Beginning today, I have a reminder on my computer to tell me to get up and walk around every hour.  A two or three minute walk through the building is better than no movement at all, right?

What suggestions do you have for incorporating more walking/standing/moving into your regular routines?

Have a great day, friends!
♥ Rachel

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4 Responses to “Stand Up!”

  1. Cancer Warrior April 23, 2012 at 5:22 pm #

    Wow! I knew that exercise is good, but had no idea how BAD sitting around is for our bodies. I have three kids, so sitting around at home is a rare treat, however my work involved much sitting at a desk. I am going to take your advice (when I return to work) and set a reminder to MOVE.

    • rachturner April 24, 2012 at 8:24 am #

      I couldn’t believe sitting was so bad for us, either! I have to admit, scheduling breaks to walk around yesterday made me feel better – a little more refreshed when I returned to my desk.

  2. Tranquil Moments Photography April 24, 2012 at 9:24 am #

    well now, that’s thought provoking. Time to get off our bums and move around more. Wow!

    • rachturner April 24, 2012 at 8:22 pm #

      Yes, let’s get off our bums (love that word!) and move around!! :)

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