Are you sitting too much? How staying on your butt is dangerous.
Sitting is Dangerous
I’m sure you’ve heard recently that sitting is the new smoking, which in my opinion, is a little extreme – but it encompasses the severity of the issue. We simply are sitting too much for too long, which has huge consequences for the health of our bodies. According to Dr. James Levine from the Mayo Clinic, who has devoted his career to the study of human movement, the average American is sitting for over eight hours a day which is a pattern leading to obesity. Think about your own day. Dining, driving, working, emailing, and calling can all be sedentary activities. Essentially, we are all moving to our next chair and here is why we must change.
1. Stressed Out? GET UP! You’re made to move
Our bodies are made to move. Movement helps to relieve stress and keeps your mind fresh. The best ideas come from active minds – think about when you go for a run or walk outside – great new ideas come to you – just look at Laura and Scott! The more you get up, the more your creativity and productivity increases.
2. Weak? Tired? Sick? GUESS WHAT! You’re not designed to be on your butt
Standing more, and moving more, will prevent injury. The sedentary behavior works against all the hard work you put in at the gym. Your muscles weaken, your joints stiffen, circulation decreases, organs get crunched, digestion stalls, metabolism slows. Toxins aren’t cleared, cholesterol increases, and you will increase your risk of diabetes, cancer and heart disease. Moving more will help your healthy lifestyle.
3. PAY ATTENTION! Sitting is like death
To be still, sitting on your butt, is a kind of death. In biology, we classify things as dead when they no longer move. You may notice this in yoga; the stillness of meditation is the death of noise, chaos, and hopefully the ego, but we are hardly sitting in stillness without this level of awareness. When we are sitting during the day, we participate unaware of how our bodies are struggling from the inactivity. It’s a war against sitting, and my challenge for you is to stand up to live a more healthy life now!
How to Stay Moving
Besides obvious suggestions like taking the stairs and biking to work, etc., we suggest looking at ways to move while at work. As a current graduate student, I found my body struggling with the constant reading, writing and computer tasks each day. I was terrified of how frequently I would sit and would be sitting for extended hours. I felt it in my back, shoulders, and knees. So I made the switch to a standing desk and you can too.
Dr. Levine, the inventor of the treadmill desk, suggests standing and walking while at work and giving up your chair entirely. Your environment should work for you in enhancing your health, not against it. He suggests taking the group for a ‘walk and talk’ meeting. Walking with someone is an intimate thing, an idea from Socrates, and it generates healthier and more positive responses.
I made a standing desk on top of my desk at home by wrapping some old Isagenix boxes and adding a few books to make the height just right. I’m now standing more than ever, moving without thinking twice. Stretching, twisting, scratching, thinking, pacing, jumping, walking, typing, and talking all at work – out of my chair. Then I can enjoy sitting when necessary or when I really do want to relax. Like when I meet friends for dinner or see a movie. It’s wonderfully easy.
If you’re sitting at work, I strongly urge you to make the switch. There’s no time to waste. Your body will thank you and it will jumpstart you into achieving your health and fitness goals for the new year. These are lifestyle changes that will turn up your life. You won’t regret it. Standing will make you feel more powerful and so much better. I stand, I move, I work and my body loves me more for it.
For more information on how your chair is killing you watch this video.