More and more, I am hearing of friends who are now administering insulin to their cats. I wondered why this was and someone suggested that many cats are now indoor pets and they are not getting as much exercise as they used to. Hmmm… isn't that kind of what is happening to many of us humans- those who live in North America at least? Our bodies are meant to move and yet our lifestyle is becoming more and more sedentary, putting our health at risk.
Think of how much of your day is spent sitting- at the table for meals, in your car to get to and from work, at your desk, at dinner time, while you watch TV. For some, sitting now exceeds the number of hours spent in sleep. There is definitely too much “sit” happening!
So what is the big deal about sitting? Researchers have linked sitting for long periods to a number of health issues such as obesity, high blood sugar, high blood pressure, and increased risk of death from cardiovascular disease and cancer. It can also be the reason for dry eyes and misaligned hips. Prolonged sitting at a desk or in front of the TV isn't the only concern though. A new study in the Annals of Internal Medicine finds that too much sitting is linked to serious health risks regardless of whether you exercise regularly. The solution seems to be in moving more throughout the entire day. When you stand or move even in a leisurely way, the muscle activity triggers processes related to the breakdown of fats and sugars. When you sit, these processes stall.
So how do you build in more movement into your day?
- use a sit/stand station if you are at your desk for prolonged periods
- take short 15 minute walks during your breaks. Remember what counts is cumulative movement- it doesn't have to be done all at the same time
- take the stairs instead of the elevator/escalator
- stand while talking on the phone
- for one-on-one meetings, walk laps with your co-worker instead of meeting in a conference room.
- at home, sit on the floor as much as you can to do your activities- watching TV, computer work, even try eating a the coffee table. Do whatever you can to get out of sitting in a chair. This will help open the hips and getting up and down from the floor will strengthen muscles in your legs and core.
So, don’t just sit there! Find ways to move throughout your day whether at work or home.