Did you know the average Adult American spends at least 9-10 hours sitting every day?
Sitting too long has been linked to obesity especially in the midsection, metabolic syndrome which is a cluster of conditions causing high blood pressure, high blood sugar, high cholesterol, poor sleep, stress or depression. It can also increase the risk of death due to cardiovascular disease and cancer. Spending one hour a day at the gym will not change the negative effects of sitting 9 hours. If you are working at a desk job or sit for 4 hours or more a day this could be why you are not losing weight.
When you sit for long periods of time important processes related to the break down of fats and sugars, which in turn increases your midsection and your health risks. Enzymes that help break down fat drop 90%, insulin effectiveness drops by 24% and good cholesterol by 20%. Women can lose up to 1% bone mass every year.
Long periods of sitting also causes organ damage.
Your heart - blood flows slower and muscles burn less fat which makes it easier for fatty acids to clog your heart leading to cardiovascular disease including heart attacks.
Your pancreas - Your body's ability to respond to insulin is affected by just one day of excess sitting which leads your pancreas to produce increased insulin which in turn could result in diabetes.
Your colon - Excess sitting may increase your risk of colon, breast and endometrial cancers. Colon cancer is increased by 30%
Your lungs - Lung cancer risk is increased by 54%
A woman's uterine cancer risk is increased by 66%
Digestion - Sitting down after eating causes abdominal contents to compress, slowing digestion. Sluggish digestion can lead to cramping, bloating, heart burn and constipation as well as conditions much more serious such as Inflammatory bowel disease, Inflammatory Bowel Syndrome, celiac disease, metabolic syndrome and cardiovascular disease.
Your brain - Your brain function slows. Your brain gets less fresh blood and oxygen which are needed to trigger the release of brain and mood enhancing chemicals and eventually can cause brain damage.
Other parts of your body...
Your neck and shoulders - It is common to hold your neck and head forward while writing, working at a computer or cradling the phone to your ear. This can lead to strains to your cervical vertebrae along with permanent imbalances which lead to neck strain and sore shouldders.
Your back - Sitting puts more pressue on your spine than standing and the toll on your back is even worse if you are sitting hunched in front of a computer.
Your muscles - Abdominal muscles go unused ultimately leading to weak abdominal wall causing an increased midsection.
Your hips - They become tight and limited in range of motion because they are rarely extended.
Your legs - Sitting can cause varicose veins, poor circulation, swelling in ankles and blood clots, weak bones and even osteoporosis.
Okay so now you are thinking what can I do about it when I have a desk job that requires me to sit for 9-10 hours a day? There are many things you can do to help your health.
1. Shift positions every 8 minutes.
2. Two minute moving beak twice an hour. You can do this right at your desk. Do some stretches or march in place. Stand up bend over and try to touch your toes, hold for 20 seconds and repeat.for 2 minutes. Did you know that just standing up for 2 minutes every hour reduces the negative effects of sitting all day?
3. Do some stretches even some planks could help.
4. Brisk or moderate exercise for 10 minutes 3 times during your workday.Do not count the time before work or after work at the gym.
5. Straighten your posture. Sit up straight with your bottom sticking out in back but not too dramatically, chin parallel with the floor and shoulders back and down for 30 seconds. Do this as often as possible.
6. Get a pedometer if you do not already have one. Make sure you wear it from the time you get up until the time you go to bed. Track your steps on an average day. Aim to increase that by 25% every day for a week. Then 10% a week for 9 weeks. By the end you will have increased your steps by almost 300%. Let me show you...Let's say your average steps are 3000 a day.
Week 1 Increase steps by 25% which would be 3750 every day
Week 2 increase steps again by 10% to 4125 every day
Week 3 increase steps again by 10% to 4538 every day
Week 4 increase steps again by 10% to 4991 every day
Week 5 increase steps again by 10% to 5490 every day
Week 6 increase steps again by 10% to 6039 every day
Week 7 increase steps again by 10% to 6643 every day
Week 8 increase steps again by 10% to 7308 every day
Week 9 increase steps again by 10% to 8038 every day
Week 10 increase steps again by 10% to 8842 every day for an increase of 295%
If you decide to use your phone as a tracker which I personally would not because you would need to make sure it was in hand every time you stand up.
Every thing we do has natural breaks which we need to make sure we maximize our activity during those breaks. At work you would simply need to get up and move every hour for 2 minutes or even stand every time you get a phone call. At home if you are reading a book, take a break after every chapter or every 50 pages. Watching T.V. get up and move during commercials. Playing a video game, get up after each match or level you complete.
No ideas? At work you could park at the back of the parking lot and walk, take the long way to the bathroom or drinking fountain. Instead of sitting in your chair and wheeling over to the filing cabinet or printer get up and walk. During your breaks go for a walk. At lunch time walk for at least 10 minutes or more if you have time.
Working from home? Get up and clean or do a load of laundry. It only takes a couple of minutes to get the laundry and throw it in the washer, stretch or like me I do a couple of Qi Gong (a form of tai chi) exercises.Just by standing up a number of molecular cascades that process blood sugar, triglycerides and cholesterol are activated.
So Let's Get Moving!!
God bless you and keep you on your journey! Have a fabulous day!