Dr. James Levine, director of the Mayo Clinic-Arizona State, coined the phrase, ‘sitting is the new smoking’. Between long commutes, sitting at a desk for 8+ hours, or sitting on the couch to relax, it is obvious we sit too much. Even our kids, who innately need to move, are more sedentary now than ever. Our kids sit at a desk most of the school day and then come home to hours of homework. To unwind kids sit and watch TV, surf the internet, or play video games. All of this sitting adds up quickly and is against our natural disposition.
Why does this matter? Living a sedentary life has been linked with high blood pressure, high cholesterol, obesity & increased belly fat; increasing our risks for heart disease, Type 2 diabetes, and certain types of cancer. People who sit for long periods during the day have a higher risk of dying early from all causes.
You may be thinking, ‘I exercise, doesn’t that reverse the effects?’ The simple answer is NO. Research reveals that even if you exercise regularly it doesn’t compensate for being sedentary the rest of the day. The American College of Sports Medicine recommends getting at least 150 minutes of moderate intensity exercise in each week. 150 minutes is a measly 1.5% of our week, so it is no wonder we need to do a little more to reverse the effects of a sedentary lifestyle. Moving more through the day may be just as important as getting in that 30 minute run. It comes down to finding ways to sit less and get up and move every opportunity we get. Humans were made to move…so MOVE!
Tips to get moving:
- Walk on 15 minute breaks or lunch breaks.
- Sit on a stability ball while you work.
- Go to fitness facility at work on lunch break.
- Rig your desk to allow you to stand up and work.
- Instead of emailing or calling a coworker, walk to their desk to talk.
- Take a lap around the office after using the restroom.
- Wear a step tracker or download an app on your phone or computer that reminds you to get up and move.
- Walk in place during commercials.
- Exercise while watching your favorite TV show.
- Pace back and forth while you talk on the phone.
- Take a family walk after dinner.
- Get outside after dinner (garden, do yard work, or play with your kids).
- Encourage your kids to burn off some energy before sitting down to do homework.
- If your kids love video games, get them to play games that get them up and moving. Do not allow them to sit for longer than 1 hour increments.
Out and About:
- Walk around the field/court/school while your kids have practice.
- Walk a lap around the grocery store before starting to shop.
- Run around with your kids at the park.
- Walk to complete your errands, or drive to a central location then walk where you can.
- Set up an active playdate where the adults walk laps around the playground while the kids play.
- Skip the lunch date and walk outside to catch up with a friend.
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