More evidence is emerging about sitting. It is being linked to a lot more health problems, such as type 2 diabetes, obesity, a variety of cardiovascular diseases and cancers, it is also said to be the cause of a shorter lifespan. There is even an axiom that is gaining popularity, “Sitting is the new smoking.”
Unlike smoking, sitting is not a habit that most of us can just avoid. The modern office or workplace is built around sitting. New research shows that less than 20 percent of jobs nowadays require moderate physical activity. So what can you do about it in order to avoid developing health problems?
Here are some things that you need to know in order to stay healthy:
Follow The 3 S’s
Sit. Stand. Stretch. These are three simple positions which you can do at any location in the workplace. According to Alan Hedge, the 3 S’s should follow this pattern: 20 minutes sitting, 8 minutes standing and 2 minutes stretching or moving. By doing this three, good blood circulation takes place in the body.
Remember to Take a Break
There are more than 20 years of research that supports the health benefits of taking breaks. Taking a break once in an hour is good, but the optimal would be taking a break every 20 to 30 minutes. Don’t just mentally take a break from what you are doing, instead, get up, move around and stretch your body.
Standing the Whole Day Is Bad, Too
One good step in trying to reduce the amount of time a person sits is a standing desk. It lets you sit when you are tired of standing and allows you to stand easily when you have sat down for quite some time. Standing for eight hours every day can cause cardiovascular issues, lower back pain, and varicose veins.
Variety in Lifestyle is Key
Think about how you would build a more dynamic living and working lifestyle for yourself so that you can refrain from doing anything for too long a period of time. Having a variety of living and working lifestyle is the key. Instead of just sitting and standing all day, mix up your posture and use different groups of muscles in your body throughout your workday.
One way of doing this is by determining which tasks of the day require sitting and those that don’t. Try brainstorming while you are walking. Actor Matthew McConaughey jogs while he reviews his lines or brainstorms new ideas for his character. You can also clean your desk while standing, stand for phone calls, and sit when you write reports. Most of all, utilize the use of technology. It allows you to do the work without having to do it in one location.
Working Out Every Day or Once a Day Is Not Enough
You may think that running 10 kilometers can replace a prolonged sitting position. Unfortunately, this idea is untrue. According to Dr. James Levine, four big studies that were conducted in the US and Australia showed that going to the gym at the end of the day does not quite offset the harm of sitting the whole day long.
Going to the gym is not the answer to fend off sitting. As much as possible, you have to incorporate bodily movements within the day such as walking, stretching and others. With this method, you can help cut down on blood sugar, triglycerides and fat by half.
Practice Good Posture
Standing desks are good in developing body movements and motion as long as one is standing correctly. Research showed that when people began to feel tired, they tend to lean on the desk. It is important to maintain good wrist and neck posture. It is recommended for companies to set up a healthy workstation for employees where they can maintain good workplace posture.
Movement Begets Movement
Those who sit more during the work days tend to sit even a lot more when they are on their day offs or are enjoying their leisure time or breaks. Workers who have a desk job and go home still sitting at home and watching TV have a life expectancy that decreases by 22 minutes every hour.