Our bodies are meant to move, not sit for hours

Just after I finished writing my last blog post which addressed the importance of movement in staying mentally alert and focused, I read an article in the Rocky Mountain Health Newsletter, which I’ve copied below. It talks about the importance of interrupting prolonged sitting and gives some excellent ideas on how to do so in the work place. Enjoy. 

“If you’re like most Americans, you’re spending an average of 9.3 hours a day sitting. … Sitting is prevalent even for people who might be considered active. Perhaps you wake up and make time to go to the gym. You spend 30 minutes walking briskly on the treadmill. You feel pretty good about yourself – and you should, since you are part of the 31% of adults who actually engage in regular physical activity. But the big question is this: What happens during the other 15.5 hours that you spend awake? If you’re like most adults, you sit. You commute, you sit at your desk, you sit when you get home, you sit to relax with your family – you sit, sit, sit all day long. Even though you fit the traditional definition of being a physically active adult, you’re only active for 3% of the day. The remaining 97% of the time you’re sitting. By adding several small breaks throughout your day, you can have a huge impact on your overall health. Recent research suggests that your risk of cancer goes down when you interrupt prolonged sitting with brief breaks of one to two minutes. Neville Owen, of Australia’s Baker IDI Health and Diabetes Institute, reports that breaks as short as one minute every hour can reduce waist circumference, insulin resistance and inflammation. Remember to stand up and be active throughout your day. Below are five simple ways you can be more active.
- Put a reminder on your calendar to get up every hour and take a short walk down the hall.
- Make walking meetings a standard. Instead of sitting at the table discussing things, walk and talk.
- Stand up during phone calls. If you can, walk around your office.
- Stretch before you head to lunch.
- Take a walk after dinner."

A few of my own suggestions include:

  • Get one of those big balls to sit on…sitting on a ball keeps your core engaged and it also helps you sit up straighter
  • Instead of calling your colleague that sits in an office down the hall to ask a question, get up and walk to their office for your chat.
  • If your office is not on the first floor, take the stairs.
  • Stretch every time you get up to use the bathroom.
  • Use a small cup/glass/bottle that has to be refilled more frequently, forcing you to get up from your desk several times a day to refill.
  • Make sure you get regular massage - even though someone else is moving your tissue for you, it will improve circulation and also help lengthen and soften all those muscles that get stiff from sitting so much. (By the way, “regular massage”, means at least once a month).

What other ideas can you add to this list? 

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Acupuncture for releasing emotional stress

Staying alert and mentally focused