How Sitting Reduces the Advantages of Your Workout
Jatin recently heard the phrase that ‘sitting is the new smoking.’ He wonders whether there is any truth to it. Truth be told, it is an exaggeration to equate both of these behaviors. This is mainly because smoking has a lot of deadly effects on the body. However, new research in the area does indicate that prolonged sitting is extremely harmful if not deadly.
A recent collection of 40 studies have shown that people who spend more time on their desks, couches, and cars suffer from a greater risk of premature death. There are also higher chances of cardiovascular disease, cancer, and type 2 diabetes.
Thankfully, this situation is easy to remedy. An hour of physical activity a day can significantly improve your overall health.
Change Your Lifestyle + Exercise
The harmful effects of prolonged sitting can easily be blunted by engaging in exercise daily. Ideally, performing moderately intense exercises for 60 minutes a day should do the trick. For example, one can do brisk walking, play doubles tennis, or ballroom dancing.
There are also studies that show that the negative effects of sitting on blood fats and insulin levels cannot be done by exercise alone. The reduced muscle activity in the legs and back can reduce the ability of the body to remove harmful blood fats and regulate blood sugar.
Sitting for a longer duration is also known to adversely affect blood vessel function. One can experience intense food cravings which will further cause the individual to eat more and gain weight.
Because of these reasons, it is important to not just exercise daily but also bring a bit of change in your lifestyle. Some tips that you can adopt are:
- When you are at work, try to stand for a few minutes after every half-hour. You can perform phone calls, have a meeting, or take coffee breaks
- If possible, try to use a desk that would allow you to work while sitting and standing. You can also attach a treadmill near your desk. This will allow you to walk while you work
- Try to park your car as far away as possible from the door of your office. This way you can walk more
- If you travel by some public transport system, try to stand
- At your home, get up regularly and take intervals. You can do your chores while watching TV too
The Active Couch Potato
Even if you have a very busy day and you are constantly in front of your days, you can add a few minutes to standing to become an active couch potato. As an active couch potato, you will have a regular exercise regime, incorporate a bit of standing and walking every day, and still be in front of your computer most of the time.
Jatin is also an active couch potato. And learning about all this has brought him a lot of relief. He has been following an exercise plan for the last few months and he uses a desk that allows him to work while he stands.
If Jatin keeps this up, then he will be able to reap the rewards of his workout and not experience negative health effects due to constant sitting. But Jatin is still not convinced. He knows he can do better. But how?
Top Tips to Stay Active throughout the Day
Jatin can do better by following some of the tips mentioned in this section.
- Cycle or Walk to Work
Jatin’s office is located close to his home. So, the first thing he can do is change how he gets to and from work. He can leave his car home and cycle or walk instead. If he finds that inconvenient, then he can even cycle to work.
Cycling has been known to reduce the risk of death from all causes. It is also known to lower cancer risk and cardiovascular disease. Further, people who cycle or walk to work have a lower body mass index (BMI) and body fat percentage in midlife.
- Move More
It sounds like obvious advice to move more. But when you are stuck with a project, then you might go hours without even thinking about moving. A recent study has shown that sitting an extra hour over 5 hours can increase the waist size by 2 centimeters. It can also increase the risk of cardiovascular diseases by 0.2 percent!
Further, good cholesterol decreases, and bad cholesterol increases. Desk-based employees can make simple changes by not just sitting still on their desks. They can fidget to keep things moving even if they can’t stand.
You can take a 10-minutes walk around your office to restore your vascular health. Talk to your co-workers while standing instead of sitting or sending an email. Take the stairs. Reorganize your desk in a way that you will have to stand to reach for some tools.
- Re-Engineering the Work Environment
Adding physical activity to your working day can have several benefits like:
- Decreased work absence
- Boosting cognitive abilities
- Better mood
- Higher productivity
Because of all these benefits, your boss might be open to the idea of making your office space more active. Some offices even offer stretch classes before work, yoga breaks during office hours, lunchtime running groups to help workers become more productive.
Some steps to re-engineer the office space include:
- Removing chairs and desk seating
- Creating walking tracks
- Taking walking meetings
- Having a pedometer program
- Using mobile sets instead of traditional phones
- Engaging in games at the workplace
- Introducing activity monitors
- Asking employees to get on activity and nutrition programs
- Adding treadmills and desks with movement interventions
- Sitting on bounce balls
Jatin wants to pitch these ideas to his boss. His boss has been very receptive to adopting some of these changes and making the workplace more fun. He is very happy that Jatin is taking the initiative to help all workers lose weight and body fat.
Take Advantage of Workout like Jatin
Since deciding to live a healthier and more active life, Jatin has felt a huge positive change in his life. He is always in a better mood, more productive at work, and happier in general. He loves seeing these changes in him and wishes that you can also adopt some of these changes.
Jatin is now a firm believer in exercising and constantly moving. He has observed the advantages of workout in him. You can do that too by pleading today to say goodbye to a sedentary lifestyle and make your life a little healthier!