Recently there has been more of a conversation about how bad sitting is for people, so I thought I would chime in. This is an important topic because in our society we do a LOT of sitting. Think about it… How many of us wake up in the morning and sit to eat breakfast? Then get in our cars and sit to drive to our jobs, where we sit most of the day. Next we sit, again in our cars, to go home and sit to eat dinner. Finally, we relax in front of the television before bed… sitting. That is a true story for lots of Americans, and it is repetitive, day after day.
So why is sitting so bad? Well, first there is a matter of physical stress. The seated position applies roughly three times more stress to the joints of your lower back than standing. Also, as a person sits for longer periods, posture is certain to get worse. This piles physical stress onto your joints. Further, periods of prolonged sitting are consistent with a sedentary lifestyle and have been linked to increased rates of cardiovascular disease, diabetes, obesity, depression, cancer, and a shortened life span.
So here are a few tips to help limit the amount of sitting you do on a daily basis:
1. Buy a stand up work desk. Some desks have the capability of raising and lowering with the push of a button.
2. When possible, walk and hand deliver in office messages or documents rather than faxing and emailing.
3. Set a timer to remind you to stand up and walk around for a few minutes each hour.
4. Schedule a walking meeting. You might be surprised how productive a stimulated mind can be when the blood is flowing and you are not staring at a computer screen.
5. While at home watching television, stand up and walk around during commercial breaks.
Don’t forget that the lifestyle you choose is also setting an example for your children. If we can teach our kids to sit less and be less sedentary, that will carry over into their adult lives and set them up for a healthier future.