One thing that we tend to do even more of in the winter (in the more northern latitudes, anyways)…is sitting. We sit in our car, so we can go sit at work, and then we leave work and sit in our car, to go home or to a restaurant to sit for dinner, to be followed by sitting in front of the computer, or the TV, or at our basket-weaving table.
Further, our technological advances have created celebrated and coveted assistance, that has also systematically removed physical activity from our lives. From cars, to elevators, to voice-to-text, to sensors opening doors for us, to food delivery services like Pea Pod…our world becomes increasingly automated, and we become increasingly sedentary. We even have tooth brushes that brush for us, and robots that vacuum our home!
In a short (from the evolutionary standpoint of millions of years) 200 years, we’ve gone from the Industrial Age, where we all used our bodies in our work…to the information age, where many of us sit all day and look at screens, sit in meeting rooms, or sit while talking on the phone. I started by mentioning the evolutionary thing because we are simply not designed to withstand all of this sitting!
“Huh? Withstand sitting? Sitting is easy! Laurie Warren, what are you getting at?”
Sitting is being called “the new smoking.” I kid you not! And from a physiology, genetics, and biochemistry point-of-view, this makes perfect sense. Every day, our lifestyle choices are telling the body to either build up, or to break down. Sitting, from an evolutionary perspective, tells the body that you are no longer a functioning member of the tribe, and that your time’s up. This is not what we want to communicate to our body!
In the short-term, all of this sitting can manifest in symptoms like low back pain, neck problems, a slower metabolism, impaired circulation, static muscle fatigue and stiffness, and bone loss. In the longer-term, sitting is associated with a higher risk of diabetes, obesity, cardiovascular disease, and various cancers. Copious sitting also interferes with the quality of our sleep, and with our brain function. That’s the Spark Notes, but I imagine that you get the picture. Copious sitting is not the friend of our vibrant health.
There are solutions that have become available like standing desks, treadmill desks, and the like; and these are certainly helpful. And here are 5 takeaway action steps that you can start tomorrow:
- Get up and move…for every 45 minutes of seated time, stand and/or move for 10 minutes. Doing this 8 times a day will reduce your sedentary time by about an hour and a half, which is a great first step (lame pun intended!).
- Bring an exercise ball to work and alternate between sitting on that, and your normal desk chair. Sitting on a ball engages our core muscles.
- Stand while talking on the phone or eating lunch.
- Walk laps with your colleagues to discuss business matters, rather than sit in a conference room.
- Similarly, when connecting with friends outside of work, meet for a walk-n-talk, instead of at a coffee shop, restaurant, or bar.
Any steps in the direction of vibrant health are good ones! I invite you to choose one, and get started tomorrow. Do you have any fave tips for keeping moving at work, or during your day at home? We all have wisdom to share and we’d love to hear yours. I invite you to chime in below 🙂
Move that sweet bod!
With love and Body Sass®,