“Sitting,” says Dr. James Levine, an endocrinologist at the Mayo Clinic who has researched the dangers of a sedentary life for the last 15 years, “is the new smoking.” Levine’s studies have shown that sitting around is bad for your health. Spending more than just 6 hours a day on your backside drives up blood pressure and places you at a greater risk for diabetes, obesity, depression, and some types of cancer.
The solution is clear: get off the sofa and get active! But for those of us who sit for work, how to we face this problem? Solution: WALKING. Even a slow walk will double our metabolic rate compared to sitting. Now a days, technology allows to do everything from the comfort of our chair; do not get sucked in!
This explains why our grand-parents were in better shape than we are. Even though physical conditioning centers did not exist, they could walk 10 km per day. No email, they would walk to the mailbox.
Here are few tricks to change this without loosing too much of that precious time:
1. Walk and talk.
As a culture, we conduct most of our business and social affairs from a seated position: in restaurants, boardrooms, and coffee shops. Whenever possible, find ways to turn these into walking meetings.
2. Go mobile.
Cell phones have created mobility, so use it! Whenever you’re on the phone, take it as an opportunity to walk!
3. Take a microbreak.
One of the reasons it’s so tough to maintain good posture at a desk is that your ligaments and other soft tissues start to deform after about 20 minutes in the same position. Fight this tendency with 1 minute breaks for every 20 minutes you’re at work: stretch, breathe, focus your eyes on a distant object. You’ll come back to work refreshed and recommitted.
4. Steal a workout.
Grab the first parking spot you see in the lot (the farther away from the door, the better), take the stairs, not the elevator, get off the bus one stop early and take some extra steps, go see your collegue instead of sending him an email. Whenever there’s a choice—walk.
5. Get less efficient.
Set up your work station so you have to reach for things rather than keeping them within an arm’s reach. Put the file cabinet and wastebasket a ways away so you have to walk over to them.
6. Leverage your TV time.
Screen time is definitely to be kept at a low. But TV time can be invaluable for stretching, floor Pilates, and yoga postures during your favourite shows or during the ads.
7. Include the family.
Make sure everyone near you—especially your family—knows that you’re trying to get more activity into your day, and include them as much as you can in the effort. Take a walk around the block instead of a trip to get fast food; play mini-golf instead of going to the movies; choose Twister instead of video games.
The goal is to instill in the next generation the love of moving!