Sit … Sit … & Sit Some More!
Do you find yourself sitting most of the day? Think about it: every morning you wake up, brush your teeth, change and then you’re out the door. You sit in your car on the way to the gym. You workout for around 60 minutes, but then hop back in your car to sit on the drive to work. If you have a desk job, like the majority of America, you sit for the next 8+ hours. Sound like you? Then, when you get home you probably kick back and relax in your favorite lounge chair in front of the TV.
Sound Like You? Don’t Worry You Are Not Alone!
If this sounds like you, you are not alone, says to Chris Kresser, a licensed acupuncturist and functional medicine practitioner. In an article in the Huffington Post, Kresser states that adults in the U.S. are sedentary for 60% of their waking hours. This is not entirely your fault. Our culture and social structure has adapted to extended periods of sitting. Being in a hunched position at a desk not only makes our muscles tight, but it also has a negative effect on the metabolism and other bodily functions. According to Kresser, prolonged bouts of sitting decreases activity of lipoprotein lipase (LPL), an enzyme responsible for burning fat. In addition to weight gain, sitting decreases bone mineral density and increases blood pressure, says Kresser.
“So … what do I do if I have a desk job?”
First, make it a rule to get up and walk around every 30 minutes. This will promote blood flow and keep your metabolism active. Maybe instead of sending that employee four cubicles down an email about the missing cover sheet on his reports, just walk and tell to them face to face. Second, if possible, install a standing desk so you have the option to get out of the seated position throughout the day. Standing even for short periods throughout the day has a huge positive impact.
Here are a list of really cool, easy-to-install stand up desks. (They also sell them at IKEA!)
While at your desk, make a conscious effort to do light stretching to reduce stiffness. Note your head and shoulder position. As we sit at our computers, our head and shoulders tend to slump forward and down. Make a conscious effort to keep everything pulled back and in proper alignment. A great solution to this problem is to have a friend place a piece of tape across your shoulder blades. Then throughout the day as you start to slouch and round your shoulders forward, you will feel the stretch of the tape. The tape will be a constant reminder to keep your shoulders back and head neutral.
Key points to good posture at your desk:
Stop sitting. Start stretching.
These stretches can be done every hour as you take a brief break from sitting. It will improve productivity and creativity and improve your mood!
Unless you have the resources and the job flexibility, cutting sitting out of your day completely will be a monumental task, if not impossible. Combat the negative effects of sitting for hours with small breaks. Get up, move, and stretch to keep your body moving. You owe it to yourself to do all that you can to keep yourself HAPPY, HEALTHY and STRONG!
Learn more about the dangers of sitting in Kelly Starrett’s book, “Deskbound: Standing up in a sitting world.”
References: Kresser, Chris. “How Sitting Too Much Is Making Us Sick and Fat — And What to Do About It.” Huffington Post. N.p., 18 Mar. 2013. Web. 3 Feb. 2014