Get Up and Get Movin’!
Yes, sitting is really that bad and how living a sedentary lifestyle is tied to obesity and other health risks
By Courtney Eiland
Numbers don’t lie. Over 50% of the population in the United States are either overweight or obese. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), more than one-third (36.5%) of U.S. adults have obesity. Also, the prevalence of obesity has remained fairly stable at 17% and affects about 12.7 million children and adolescents (aged 2-19 years).
In a digital age, there has been an increase in the amount of time spent on electronic devices rather than time spent outdoors and engaging in physical activity. For instance, Americans devote more than 10 hours a day to screen time (laptops, desktops, tablets, smartphones, video games, etc.), and the number is steadily growing.
In total, Americans sit an average of 13 hours a day and sleep an average of eight hours resulting in a sedentary lifestyle of around 21 hours a day. Furthermore, 70% of full time American workers hate sitting, yet 86% do it all day, every day. (Source: PRNewswire).
The Washington Post released an infographic in 2014 that broke down the health hazards that come from sitting down for prolonged periods of time on a daily basis. The source of the infographic: Washington Post, To download a high res PDF of this infographic go here. The infographic shows the effects that sitting has on your body from head-to-toe and delves into the internal effects that are linked to both long term and even fatal diseases. For those who have no choice but to sit at their respective workplaces, it shows the proper posture to have while doing so, as well as a few stretches that can help loosen your muscles.
Listed below are options to consider incorporating into your day-to-day to increase physical activity:
- Grab a few coworkers (or go solo) for a 15 minute wellness walk twice a day – once in the mid-morning and once in the mid-afternoon. Also, consider cutting your lunch break in half and going for a walk during the second half
- Substitute your desk chair for a large exercise ball to engage your core and improve balance and posture
- Stretch for 10-15 minutes each morning to loosen muscles and reduce stiffness
Study shows that 60 minutes of exercise per day is beneficial for your health and overall quality of life. Although 60 minutes is recommended, if that’s too much to start out with initially, consider 10 to 15 minute intervals or 30 minute splits until you’re ready for the full 60 minutes. Below are some benefits from exercise when added to your daily routine:
- Boosts happiness levels and relieves stress
- Reduces the risk of heart disease naturally
- Helps you sleep better
- Increases focus and productivity
- Increases strength and flexibility
- Increases self-confidence
You’re one workout away from a good mood! For more tips to get you motivated, check out the author’s blog, A Word Or Two For You.