We have all probably heard that sitting is the new smoking and sitting is killing us, right? While these statements do have some truth to them, the problem is sitting is not really bad for us.
Cautionary note, I am not condoning to sit more or that sitting is some how healthy, my point is that sitting is not the sole problem.
Stillness is the problem!
The reason sitting gets such a bad rap is because throughout the workday many of us sit all day long. While we sit were are generally still – little to no movement. So, the answer for a person with a normal desk job, get a standing desk, right? Oh if only it were that easy. With a standing desk now we are simply standing while remaining relatively still for hours at a time…this means we are trading in one bad habit for another! In fact, standing in one place for too long can actually have adverse health effects such as increased risk for cardiovascular problems and increased back aches and pain from poor posture (slouching over your desk while standing).
Stillness is Killing us, so What do we do?
The answer is relatively simple, move more! Yes, that is right the answer is really that simple, just move more. In fact, more studies are being released by experts such as Katy Bowman and James Levine, that show that movement is the answer. It doesn’t matter if we are sitting or standing, our behavior is the problem, our tendency to remain still.
However, as a person with a normal desk job, I can atest that moving more is actually much easier said than done. When I am in the throws of a big project the last thing on my mind is to take a break and move. I then find myself staring at my computer screen for hours at a time, moving very very little. Not good!
Here are some tips and tricks that I have found to help me move more throughout the day:
- Don’t send that email – instead of emailing or messaging a co-worker, get up and walk over to them to chat
- Water – Use a smaller water bottle that needs to be filled more often – meaning more trips to the water station
- Again Water – Drinking more water will equal more trips to the restroom
- Take the stairs – Vow never to take the elevator at work again, even if you are headed to the very top floor for a meeting
- Take your lunch on the go – Grab something for lunch that you can eat while going for a walk
- Pace – On your next conference call or phone meeting pace the hallways as you chat
- Walking meetings – For all of those meetings that don’t require a computer screen, take them on the go – Get outside and walk around the block or simply walk the hallways while chatting
- Treadmill desk – Yes these do exist and they are amazing! You can actually walk the entire time you are working, meaning you are literally moving all day long! Downside these active desks are on the expensive side
- Set a timer – Every hour take at least five minutes to move. This could be simple stretches, some body weight exercises, or even just climbing up and down a few flights of stairs
Remember, even if you workout out everyday, this does not give you the okay to remain still the other 20+ hours out of the day. Move more. This advice applies to absolutely everyone!