Do you feel more like the Hunchback of Notre Dame than vibrant good postured human at the end of a long work day? Did you know you are more likely to die from prolonged sitting. Here is the study, Alpa V. Patel, PhD, and colleagues found that women were 94 percent and men were 48 percent more likely to die than those who reported to be more active and sit less in day. What they found over 14 years is that people who spent at least 6 hours of their daily leisure time sitting died sooner than people who sat less than 3 hours. Are you getting depressed yet?
Here is more on the topic: Sitting for longer periods of time not only increased your chances of heart disease, it also increased your chances of Type 2 Diabetes and cholesterol problems. Not to mention the host of muscle aches and pains and chronic headaches I see at my office everyday. People who begin a more sedentary job will gain on average 16 lbs of fat over a 8 month period.
I can see all my runners saying that they will just run to counter act the effects of sitting so much. Here is what the research shows: In a 2007 report, University of Missouri scientists said that people with the highest levels of nonexercise activity (but little to no actual "exercise") burned significantly more calories a week than those who ran 35 miles a week but accumulated only a moderate amount of nonexercise activity. What they are saying is you just can't sit all day and then go run and think that's the only trick, you need to do more movement throughout the day in addition to your exercise.
It's not all your fault, but you are to blame for not taking control. What do I mean?
Here are some simple tricks to increase what is called your NEAT, which stands for Non-Exercise Activity Thermogenesis. We all know these movements and exercises, but are sometimes to lazy to do them. It is these activities that we typically don't do enough of that make a big difference, such as taking the stairs, parking further away, standing up to work every 20 minutes, sitting on an exercise ball while working, actually actively squatting to pick something up rather then bending over and killing your spine, taking a 5 minute walk, the list can go on.
Here is what I propose if you sit all day: Set a timer for every 20 minutes or go to www.workrave.com where you can download a program to remind you when to take breaks. Pick a stretch, a different movement, or an activity to do and do it EVERY hour, it will not only reduce the amount of back and neck tension, but will also increase you level of focus and concentration, in addition to maybe helping you live longer. The more frequent you do these "micro breaks" the better.
Some of the "exercises" I do if I sit for a long time or have to study are the following: Sitting on an exercise ball, stretching my chest and upper back (both are chronically tight on sitters), standing up and bending over and stretching my low back and hamstrings, standing up and reaching as high as I can on my toes with my arms up high (great for the lower back), standing up to work on the computer, taking a 2-5 minute walk, jumping up and down, stretching my hip flexors (very tight with sitting = low back pain) the list can be endless. Just do something.
Since most of you now hate your jobs even more, since it is essentially killing you. Now is the time to take action for your health. Adding activity to your work day is easy and not only increase productivity (something your boss will like) it will help you to live longer and have less chronic aches and pains.
Here is what one of the leading researches says: Being sedentary for nine hours a day at the office is bad for your health whether you go home and watch television afterward or hit the gym. It is bad whether you are morbidly obese or marathon-runner thin. “Excessive sitting,” Dr. Levine says, “is a lethal activity.”
Now get back to work!!! Just do it more actively :)
New York Times, Is Sitting a Lethal Activity? James Vlahos Published: April 14, 2011
Patel, A.V. American Journal of Epidemiology, published online July 22, 2010.
Sedentary Behavior, Recreational Physical Activity, and 7-Year Weight Gain among Postmenopausal U.S. Women
Obesity (2007) 15, 1578–1588; doi: 10.1038/oby.2007.187