Our bodies are designed to move. But with innovations like computers, cell phones, and mass transportation, technology has taken over our time and kept us glued to our seats. In fact, the average person is sedentary (inactive) for 12 hours each day!
Sitting may not seem like a dangerous pastime, but new research has emerged showing that physical inactivity—which results from sitting disease—is now the fourth leading cause of mortality in the world.
So what is sitting disease? Read on to learn more about this new condition and what you can do to avoid its harmful side effects.
Technology may have made our lives easier and safer in a lot of ways, but we’re also much more sedentary today. While we used to walk or bike to our jobs on farms or construction sites, we’re now spending hours behind a desk—only standing every few hours for a quick trip to the bathroom or another cup of coffee. It simply isn’t necessary for us to get up at work or physically engage with the world around us anymore. This change has led to the rise of a new condition called sitting disease.
The term is described as a metabolic syndrome that results from the negative impacts of a sedentary lifestyle. Our bodies produce lipoprotein lipase enzymes to metabolize (and burn) fat and sugar in our bloodstream so we can use energy efficiently. But by remaining immobile for extended periods of time—longer than 60 to 90 minutes—these enzymes become inactive and unnecessary lipids and sugars remain in our system, contributing to increased fat stores and potential diseases.
Getting up is the only way to get these enzymes moving. Even the mildest activity—like standing for 30 minutes—can wake up those fat-burning enzymes.
It’s a common misconception that exercise can counteract all the effects of sitting disease. This doesn’t mean you should cancel your gym membership or cut out physical activity. One hour of exercise a day is great and can help you stay healthy, but put that into the context of an entire workday. Even if you spend your lunch hour at the gym, you’re still sitting at your desk for the other 7 hours.
A better approach is to go about your entire day (not just your workout time) with the goal of getting in physical activity whenever you can. To truly make a positive change and fight sitting disease, you need to get up every 30 minutes!
Our bodies weren’t designed to sit for long periods. By standing every 30 minutes, you’re fighting body pain, herniated discs, damaged nerves, degenerated joints, dementia, and more. Get moving with a few of these simple tips!
No, this doesn’t mean spending your time cleaning. NEAT stands for non-exercise active thermogenesis. Simply put, make sure you move every hour! Whether that’s stretching, walking, or doing jumping jacks, whatever it takes for you to get your blood circulating will do the trick.
Add a few extra steps to your morning commute and wake up your metabolism by parking your car in the back of the lot. Even this small change to your regular routine can give your body the break it needs from hours behind the wheel or at a desk.
It’s easy to zone in at work and forget to move for hours on end. Fight against this sedentary inclination by setting a reminder on your phone to stand up every 30 minutes. This repeating alarm will help you become aware of just how often you need to get up and move your body!
The average person should drink between nine and thirteen cups of water each day! Challenge yourself to drink lots of water at work to keep you on track. You’ll not only stay hydrated throughout the day, but you’ll also stand up more often to refill or use the restroom.
Don’t rely on technology to find answers or complete a simple task. (Just because you can doesn’t mean you should!) Instead of calling or emailing a question, walk down the hall and ask your coworker. During your lunch break, walk to the bank to deposit your check, or jog to pick up your food instead of having it delivered.
Your body uses major muscles systems to stand, and you’ll naturally burn more calories while you aren’t sitting. Train yourself to stand when you answer phone calls at work or watch your favorite shows at home. You can also ask your boss if you can stand during staff meetings—or even pace to get your heart pumping.
Instead of coming home and plopping down in front of the TV, use that time to keep active while you catch up on your shows. Pull that treadmill out of storage and walk, stretch out on a mat, or challenge yourself to do air squats. Anything to keep your body moving and stop yourself from becoming too sedentary will help!
Spending most of our day sitting at our desks or lounging comfortably after work has become second nature. But prioritizing your health and finding creative ways to move every 30 minutes can have a massive positive impact. With small changes in your habits, exercise, and work routine, you can enhance your overall well-being!
Paradigm Health & Wellness is located in downtown Lafayette, Indiana. We offer a unique and strategic approach to employees’ mental health, physical wellness, and more. Learn more about our services and contact us today! Like us on Facebook, and follow us on LinkedIn!