Welcome to week #2 of HFFM’s series on How to Make Healthy Living a Lifestyle – and for setting you up for a Successful New Year. I hope you all are carrying your water bottles around with you and drinking water regularly throughout your days now J.
For this week’s tip we are talking about your backside. Getting off of it to be exact.
Sitting all day is one of the most seemingly harmless – yet can actually be one of the most harmful – things you can to your body. Did you know that according to the American Heart Association, the average American sits for six to eight hours per day?! That’s crazy! Their studies have also linked long periods of sitting with an increased risk for diabetes, heart disease and even cancer. A sedentary lifestyle has even been shown to increase anxiety.
Plus, it can make your bottom bigger – and not in that sexy way that many women are going for these days! In fact, researchers at the HuffPost UK have found that putting pressure on certain body parts (i.e., your back side) can produce up to 50 percent more fat than usual. Their scientists believe that the precursors to fat cells turn into flab (and end up producing more) when subjected to prolonged periods of sitting down, otherwise known as ‘mechanical stretching loads.’ Now who wants that?!
And while some research has found that frequent breaks from sitting – even if it’s just getting up to go to the bathroom – can help ward off its negative health effects, they still aren’t enough to make any significant difference. In this case it’s not about exercising more – although I obviously like that idea – it’s about sitting less!
“Regardless of how much physical activity someone gets, prolonged sedentary time could negatively impact the health of your heart and blood vessels,” said Dr. Deborah Young, chair of the aforementioned AHA report. “There is evidence to suggest that sedentary behavior could contribute to excess morbidity and mortality.”
Simply stated, sitting may kill you faster. And while there isn’t enough data to recommend exact time limits for your binge-watching Stranger Things, it’s best to keep the mantra of “sit less, move more” in mind when going through your daily activities – or lack there-of.
So now that we know how harmful sitting can actually be – for both our inside and out – how do we change it? How can we add more movement into our daily lives, even when we work at a computer all day or enjoy nothing more than sitting down once the kids have finally gone to bed and catching up on our DVR list?!
Here are 5 tips to help you sit less:
- Put your computer on a high table or stand-up desk so that you are forced to stand while working.
- Walk around when talking on the phone, instead of sitting in a chair. You can also casually walk on a treadmill or ride a stationary bike; not so much that you are out of breath, but enough to keep your heart rate slightly elevated.
- Walk to the park with your kids instead of driving (or do whatever errands you need to that are walking distance). This will not only help you get in a little bit of exercise, you’ll also help to wear them out for an earlier bedtime. #winwin
- Take a walk with your friends or colleagues instead of sitting down for coffee.
- Forego sitting on the couch while watching TV at night, and try foam rolling or stretching. I literally do this [almost] every night, and can’t tell you how much better I feel when I wake up in the morning vs. those nights where I don’t have time to fit it in.
And for your final bit of advice, which will put last week’s and this week’s tips together: set the alarm on your phone for every hour and drink [at least] 4 ounces of water and walk around for at least 2 minutes. Hey, you could even walk to the water cooler in your office and kill two birds with one stone J. Walking to the bathroom will work here too.
Now stay tuned for next week’s Tip where I continue to help you make healthy living a lifestyle! And if you missed last week’s Tip (about drinking more water), CONTACT US here for the Newsletter, or check out the article on our BLOG.