Have you seen the film Wall-e? Remember the part at the end of the film when everyone has become obese from sitting in motorised chairs as their main mode of transportation around the spaceship? They no longer walk, they glide. This is how I feel right now.
This week I calculated I was sat in a chair (or couch) for over 53 hours. There are roughly 112 waking hours a week, which means I spend half of my time sitting!
Do you know what this does to a person?
- People who sit for long periods of time are 24% more likely to die from health problems compared to people who sit less, according to the Journal Annals of Internal Medicine. Sitting more than 8 hours a day is linked to a lot of negative health effects
- There is an 18% increased risk of dying from cardiovascular disease
- A 17% increased risk of dying from cancer
- A 91% increased risk of getting Type 2 diabetes
So it’s no surprise that over the last 20 years, sitting time has increased by 8% and obesity has doubled. I personally sit for longer periods of time than I need to, sometimes I even hold off on going to the restroom in order to get something done urgently. My breaking point was this week, after I got up from my desk I tripped over because I had been sitting so long both of my legs had fallen asleep! That’s right, my body literally had enough.
Following this and because I am a nerd, I did a bit of research, what does sitting down actually do to your body?
- Enzymes that help break down fat drop by 90%
- Electrical activity in the leg muscles shut off
- Calorie burning drops to 1 per minute
I was shocked about the electrical activity, THEY ACTUALLY SHUT OFF (eek!), but it made sense after I had my little breakdown this week. This really made me think about how much I actually do sit per day, it’s not just at work, when I get home (after I feed, bathe and put the Bear to sleep) I generally sit on the couch blog or watch TV until it’s bed time! To be fair, I am normally exhausted by this point so what’s a girl to do?
I put together a list for myself to start getting my big bum out of that seat!
Ask your HR department or manager for a standing/sitting desk. Luckily we have these at work already and we hot desk, so if I get there early in the morning (which I do every day) I can always get a standing/sitting desk. These are amazing! You have the option to put it up or down, so if I get tired of standing I can put it down and chill, this helps me the most! You can also try riser recliner chairs – adjustamatic so at least you have the option to into a more healthy 90 degree position.
Start talking to people face to face! I work at a large corporation where my colleagues are spread around the campus, so if I wanted to speak to someone from another department (which I typically have to do in order to get my job done) it will take a good 5 minutes to get to their desk, so generally I will just send them an email or call them. Next week I am going to go over to their desk to get that little bit of exercise and prevent myself from sitting for longer than one or two hours at a time.
Put in a reminder to get up. I scheduled in a little reminder in my diary called, ‘Get Up, Stand Up’ (yes, I’m a Bob Marley fan) for 5 mins at 11:20am every day. So far this has worked, I’ll normally go get a coffee or some water.
Take the stairs. I have been doing this one already but sometimes I’ll be lazy and get in the lift. Not only does this burn calories but now knowing it will prevent cancer I’ll definitely be taking this more seriously!
Plan a activity family night each week, for instance bowling or mini golf. This is probably the most difficult for me as it’s hard trying to schedule time with my partner to set aside a night each week where we do something (outside of the house) as a family. If you can’t get out of the house then playing Twister or doing a family yoga session could be fun? (albeit I can’t really see my boyfriend doing Yoga, would be funny though!)
I’ve already started on my journey to healthy living and hopefully over the next couple weeks I’ll start to do more of the above list, next step is changing my eating habits! (pizza anyone?!)