Are you sitting too much?
All hail technology! We drive when we used to walk and bike. We sit in front of a screen when we used to take long walks. In the last 50 to 75 years, our lifestyles have become physically stagnant. The arrival of technology has made us spend most of our workday sitting at our desks with our fingers moving with such intensity which actually our whole body requires!
Of course, this technology has allowed you as well as millions of people to earn a living from the relative comforts of your desks, without having to break a sweat or even stand up. But, once the workday is done, then what? You transition straight from desk to car to couch, taking barely a step in between. Accept it or not, but the ease of our technologically enabled workday has come at the expense of our longevity.
The “Sitting disease” – Taking a toll on your body
When your body spends extended periods of time inactive, its systems become less efficient and begin to falter. Both sitting too much and exercising too little may increase the chance of heart failure. (FYI – Heart failure does not mean that the heart stops beating but that the heart muscle is not pumping blood adequately).
What sitting for too long will do to you?
- It will reduce your non exercise activity. Get up and walk around for the love of your pedometer.
- Decreased muscle contractions that occurs with prolonged sitting slows down the clearance of fat from the blood stream. Now, who would want a slower metabolism?
- Right now, straighten your back! If you hadn’t noticed earlier, you were sitting with the head forward and which caused the shoulders to curve to compensate for the weight transfer.
- Need I mention anything about obesity now?
- Cancer – Yes, you read it right. A study suggests that women’s chances of developing breast, corpus uteri, and ovary cancer were high if they are employed in a sedentary job.
- Worst of all – Communication over the internet causes a decline in social involvement and psychological well-being. Reduced social skills! More depression and loneliness! Now, who would want that? You get one life, spread cheers and smiles throughout!
How much is too much sitting?
James Levine, co-director of Obesity Solutions at Mayo Clinic in Phoenix and Arizona State University says that “If you’ve been sitting for an hour, you’ve been sitting too long.” He further adds, “My gut feeling is you should be up for 10 minutes of every hour.”
The human body isn’t made for sitting at a desk, in front of a computer for hours on end. Yet that’s what you have to do that get that pay check! This post does not imply that you have to be jogging and lifting weights all day, but that you need to avoid sitting for long periods of time. So, get off your duff, be it at work and or at home:
- Periodically move around in your seat.
- Stand while talking on the phone or eating lunch.
- Use a stand up desk.
- Have organized breaks throughout the day.
- Walk laps with your colleagues rather than gathering in a conference room for meetings.
- Position your work surface above a treadmill so that you can be in motion throughout the day.
Time for some calorie count (based on a 140-pound woman):
|Instead of This:||Do This|
|Sitting at your desk (83 Calories burned per hour)||Stand at your desk (115 Calories burned per hour)|
|Riding the elevator (128 Calories burned per hour)||Take the stairs (509 Calories burned per hour)|
|Shopping online (96 Calories burned per hour)||Shop at the mall (147 Calories burned per hour)|
|Calling for takeout (96 Calories burned per hour)||Cook at home (128 Calories burned per hour)|
|Talking on the phone seated (102 Calories burned per hour)||Pace while chatting (147 Calories burned per hour)|
|E-mailing a co-worker (96 Calories burned per hour)||Walk to her office (128 Calories burned per hour)|
601 vs. 1,174 calories burnt per hour
You know who won! Go, get your move on and soak up the sun! 🙂
So what about you? Are you sitting too much?
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