Published November 15, 2015
Everyone knows that ‘sitting is the new smoking’ – it’s something I have been telling my clients for years. You go to the gym regularly and actually get a good workout, cardio, weights, yoga and more, but then what happens? What do the majority of the urban population do – they sit. They sit in their cars or on their bikes and then go to their desks and sit again. They sit until lunchtime where they sit and eat, and then get back to sitting and doing their work again. At home there is help – someone sweeps and swabs and takes care of all other household chores. There is no reason to move.
The sitting epidemic is however something that is not so easy to fight. I actually have a table that I can use as a standing desk but just cannot get myself to use it. So what can a writer, software engineer, bank manager or any other person who has a job requiring them to sit all day to do?
You need to make a pro-active plan to get moving:
- Plan to move around 5 minutes every hour. Set an alarm on your phone and get up and walk. You can talk on the phone, go to the bathroom, get some tea, but just get up and walk.
- Take the stairs. When the opportunity arises forgo the elevator and take the stairs.
- Add 15 minutes of walking to your lunch time. Lunch is usually 30-45 minutes long and we need only 15 minutes to eat. Use the rest of the time to walk around. This will help you digest the food as well.
- Turn TV time into a workout. It’s tempting to plop on the sofa but considering you have been sitting all day, it’s wise to use this time to stretch, do sit ups, push-ups and anything to get the body moving. During commercials get up and walk around.
- Do chores. We have help to do most of the chores around the house but you will feel good if you clean up once in a while yourself. Tidying up with dusting, sweeping, doing laundry burns calories and we all should do it. When your maids take a leave you will get less stressed!
- Exercise your calf muscles when brushing your teeth. This is a good time to multi-task. Suck your stomach in and rise up onto the balls of your feet, hold for two seconds, then sink down. Repeat 20, 30, times.
- Have walking meetings. Not all meetings have to be sitting in a stuffy room. You can be productive walking outside.
- Don’t look for the closest parking space. Park further away from your destination and get more steps in.
- Play with your kids, cook, walk to your neighbour’s house. Find ways to move – once you make a habit of finding some non-sedentary activities, you will be surprised at how good you feel.