Why Sitting is the New Smoking
Nowadays, many people make their livings while sitting in chairs. Some think that maintaining an exercise program will negate hours of sedentary time. Mounting evidence, however, suggests that even regular workouts don’t stave off the negative effects of sitting.
What Are the Risks?
Studies have found that long hours at a desk put people at higher risk for a number of conditions. Despite regular exercise, eight-hour desk days slow a person’s metabolism. The risk of developing cardiovascular disease and type II diabetes strongly correlate with time spent sitting as well. The Wall Street Journal even cites certain cancers and liver disease as potential side effects of long-term sedentary work. In the face of such significant risks, people are beginning to look for solutions.
What Can Be Done?
You should take at least five minutes every hour to move around. Activity monitors or phone alerts can be helpful to keep you on track. In those five minutes, try to do simple stretches or easy exercises. Just a few minutes of movement for every hour of sitting can make a big difference.
When it comes to lunch, try not to remain seated. Go for a walk outside if it is nice, hit the treadmill, or move around the office. At the end of the day, put some time aside for self-massage. Beginning at the top of the thigh, use circular motions. Slowly work your way down the leg, adding a little more area at a time. Repeat on both legs. You can apply a similar technique to each arm, using the opposite hand.
The goal of these techniques is to promote healthy circulation. Extended sitting causes the circulation to slow. This can contribute to or compound many of the health risks listed above. Keep that blood flowing as best you can—even during those long days at the office.