Recent headlines have compared sitting to smoking in terms of our health. Unfortunately, 86% of American workers sit all day, every day. Whether it’s at work, home, in your car, or a combination of these, we spend a lot of time sitting. Hearing something like “sitting is as bad for you as smoking” is really bad news! But is sitting really that bad for us? More research needs to be done on the effects of sitting, but the bottom line is, it really is that bad.
Current research has linked many significant health concerns with sitting for long periods of time, including obesity, high blood pressure and high cholesterol. There also seems to be a correlation between too much sitting and the risk of death from cardiovascular disease and cancer. In an article on the Mayo Clinic website, Edward R. Laskowski, M.D. states, “An analysis of 13 studies of sitting time and activity levels found that those who sat for more than eight hours a day with no physical activity had a risk of dying similar to the risks of dying posed by obesity and smoking.”
Adding more movement and physical activity into your life can counteract the damage caused by too much sitting. There are many ways to approach this goal, the obvious being, start working out. If your apartment building has a gym, start using it! Schedule a workout class once or twice a week. Many of my clients tell me that having a regularly scheduled Pilates session really helps to hold them accountable for getting a workout in.
When it comes to movement, every little bit helps. Many of my clients are forced to sit all day at work. One of my favorite teaching moments is coming up with small ways to add movement to their work day. Here are some of the things I suggest:
Even if it’s just two floors, every step counts. If you work on the twentieth floor, take the elevator to floor 16 then take the stairs the rest of the way.
Take 15 minutes out of your lunch break and go for a walk. Or better yet, drink more water throughout the day so you need to walk to the bathroom more often. Kill two birds with one stone!
Get one of those sit/stand desks at work and split your time in each position. Stand while you’re in a meeting or on the phone.
Every little bit helps. Sitting may be killing us, but we can do so much to fight the effects.
LMT, Pilates Instructor
and Founder of Inertia6
Rachael has a passion for movement and her athletic training and experience give her body-awareness and insight.
For more ideas on moving, check out this Reader’s Digest article.