It’s 6:00 am and your alarm is going off. You get up and start your morning routine: take a shower, get dressed, do your hair, go to the kitchen to grab breakfast, make lunch and head to work. Maybe that isn’t exactly your routine but something along those lines. The average American drives 25 minutes to and from work. You walk in to your job and sit at your desk to clock in and start your day. Is this starting to sound familiar?
In 1960, 50 percent or more of jobs required physical activity. Today only 20 percent of jobs require some sort of physical activity. You could say “work smarter not harder” but this lack of having to get up and move has actually contributed to the increase in obesity. What can we do about this? I’m glad you asked!
Instead of emailing a co-worker a question, get up and walk to their office. Not only does this help you get up and move but it will also help with relationships. We don’t get enough face-to-face time any more, but that is a subject for a different day. Thirsty? Go top off your water bottle or fill up your coffee cup. Studies show that we should not sit for more than 20 minutes at a time.
You may be thinking, “There is no way I can get up every 20 minutes. I won’t get anything done.” What if I told you that the simple act of going from sitting to standing can help? Another option is instead of moving your chair to the file cabinet behind you, get up and walk to the cabinet.
A lot of people, and I am guilty of this too, get in a zone and all of a sudden two hours have gone by and I haven’t moved from my chair. Most of us carry cell phones or have a way to set a timer on our computer. Set a reminder that every 20 minutes you need to stand up. Stand up, stretch, go to the restroom, something. One suggestion a professor from Cornell University has is to try the formula 20-8-2. Sit for 20 minutes, stand for 8 minutes and move around for two minutes.
Okay, you’ve survived your eight hours at work and it’s time to go home. Sedentary jobs are not the only issue. You’ve had a long day at work and all you want to do when you get home is relax. That’s understandable. That couch is looking awfully comfy, isn’t it? Just say no! This is a good time to unload the dishwasher, fold laundry (not sitting down), sweep the floors, dust, go for a walk, something.
Sitting too much can have some very serious side effects including, obesity, high blood pressure, high blood sugar, excess fat around the waist line, high cholesterol, cardiovascular disease, strained neck and shoulders, posture issues and so much more!
February is cardiac health month. Let’s take this month to help our hearts by trying to get up and go a little more than we did before. Just remember the simple act of getting out of your chair every 20 minutes could save you from a variety of health effects.