Everyone knows that sitting for extended periods of time is bad for your health. Last year, NBC News published a story dubbing “sitting the new smoking”. According to Maggie Fox, “Sitting raises the risk of disability, diabetes, heart disease, cancer and vascular disease, not to mention obesity.” Working out regularly helps, but studies show that the correlation between cancer and sitting is still high in active individuals. Even if you, like many Americans, have a sedentary job, there are several ways that you can combat the hazards of sitting.
Due to rising rates of obesity in conjunction with seat time, studies show Americans are losing two hours of their lives for every hour that they sit. While these statistics are startling, there are several simple things you can do to lead a healthier lifestyle and combat the health hazards of sitting.
“Lengthen” Your Commute
If you can, get off the subway one stop early and walk the remainder. Drive to work? Park at the far edge of the parking lot. Just like taking the stairs, these extra bits of exercise will make you healthier.
In addition to burning more calories, walking faster during the day (Think: on your commute, at work, on your way to lunch), is a great way to get your blood pumping. Picking up the pace also helps to build muscles in your legs and increase your cardiovascular capabilities.
Take the Stairs
Maybe not so easy if you work on the 25th floor, BUT, getting off the elevator a few floors early and walking up from there can help. You can burn 12 calories per 30 seconds compared to 1 calories per minute waiting for the elevator.
Set a “MOVE” Reminder on Your Phone
The Apple Watch and Garmin have built in “move” reminders. Tim Cook says the Apple Watch will ‘tap’ you out of laziness. “It took awhile to get used to, but it’s actually really good. A lot of doctors believe sitting is the new cancer,” Tim Cook, Apple CEO. Don’t have an Apple Watch or Garmin? Set a “move” alarm to go off in hour increments on your phone. When the reminder goes off take a lap around your floor, walk to the water cooler, visit a colleague. Can’t leave your desk? Just standing up and stretching will help!
Wear Compression Socks
Compression socks increase your circulation whether you’re sitting and standing. They also decrease swelling and muscle soreness while reducing the risk of blood clots. Tired of granny looking compression socks? Soxxy came out with a line of stylish compression sox that help bridge the gap between fashion and function. Check out the chic Herringbone style or Orion designs. Now you can look and feel great from day to night.
Really, really can’t leave your desk? No worries! Forbes has come up with some great exercises that you can do while sitting. Not quite ready to turn your cube into a gym? Simple stretches, like reaching your arms up to the sky and out to the walls can get blood flowing.
Sit Up Straight!
Maybe Grandma was right! Hunching over at your computer screen can cause back and neck pain and even restrict blood flow to the back of the head, resulting in a tension headache. An easy solution to the hunch is to raise your computer monitor so it’s directly at or above eye level.
Soxxy and leading Vascular Surgeon, Dr. Huribal created the CHIL campaign to educate airline passengers on ultimate leg health inflight and on the ground. CHIL is an acronym for the following:
C = compression sox, wear them
H = hydration, drink water
I = Isometric exercises, do ankle rotations and toe touches
L = leg elevation, stand up every hour and elevate you legs
You can check out the CHIL video here.
Set a timer for 30 minutes and see how much tidying up you can get done at home. Actions like scrubbing bathroom tiles, dusting surfaces, vacuuming, lawn mowing and gardening can burning a surprising amount of calories. Plus, you’ll be surprised in how much you can get done in just 30 minutes of focused housework!
Avoid the Netflix Binge
Sure, we’ve all binged on enough Netflix to get the “Are You Still There?” message, but all that watching is turning us into couch potatoes. In addition to sitting at work, many Americans return home and complete marathons…on their couches. Binge watching TV is also connected to poor eating habits, which leads to obesity. Make a healthy dinner first and then limit yourself to one or two episodes a night. Can’t get enough Orange Is The New Black? Try doing sit ups or jumping jacks while credits roll between episodes or heading to the gym with your tablet to watch TV while you use the bike or elliptical.
Almost bedtime and haven’t done any “real” exercise today? As you brush your teeth practice calf raises or squats. Just a few minutes of each can make a big difference for your circulation and muscle strength.