Is sitting killing you? Fitness expert shares how to combat
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Calling all desk ninjas. Do you site more than eight hours a day for your profession? If yes, then yesterday’s Just How Dangerous Is Sitting All Day? infographic in Mashable might have scared the heck out of you. If you haven’t had a chance to read it, scroll down in the post. You might need to take a deep breath after, but not worry.
I went to my favorite fitness and nutrition (and nationally renowned) expert, Andrea Metcalf. I wanted to know what we could do to combat these scary stats. Andrea offered some great tips and helped me feel a bit better working from my sitting desk station:
The “Just How Dangerous Is Sitting All Day?” post is pretty startling. How many hours can you reasonably sit at one time?
Andrea: We have so many indications that being sedentary is horrible for your health– this hopefully would get people to stand up and do something about it…. including having companies require a daily stretch or movement program once or twice a day like in other cultures in the far east.
The report also says that exercising along with sitting several hours a day still increases the chance you’ll die 15 years earlier than someone who doesn’t sit. How can we combat this?
Andrea: Keep in mind that the study self reported exercise and self reported sitting in increments of sitting all day, 1/2 the day 1/4 of the day…etc. that said, what was noted of particular importance was extended periods of sitting had the highest risk association with or without exercise. Think of it in the simplest terms: any time the body is stagnant, circulation is decreased which means the toxins that compile cancers and increase cholesterol are manifesting and moving through the body at a slower pace.
Which jobs are most “at risk?”
Andrea: Easier to think of jobs that aren’t at risk… almost every profession has a seated portion: receptionists, office workers, computer programmers, bloggers, pilots, taxi/limo drivers, transportation (truckers, engineers, pilots, etc) and most office workers (the average office worker sits 6 hours a day). Another study noted the total reported time spent sitting per day (across all domains) was almost 6 hours less among the mothers than the office workers.
What are simple, basic exercises you can do at your desk or during the workday to avoid obesity and other negative consequences?
- between emails or every 15 minutes reach your arms over head then touch each hand to the floor while the other is held overhead.
- walk to a printer instead of printing at your desk
- tap your toes, circle your ankles, or just move your feet around as often as possible
- stand up! just standing alone changes your blood pressure and forces your heart to pump blood against gravity
- -turn around – stretch the spine…
2) Spine Rotation - Sit tall with feet firmly on the ground. Lift any 5-10 pound object (i.e.. gallon of milk a laptop or small weight)with arms extended out in front of your body. Lift the rib cage and inhale. Exhale as you rotate the object 1/4-1/2 turn to your right. Keep shoulders relaxed and inhale as you return to center. Repeat on the other side and perform 10 reps.
3) Seated V Balance - Sit to the front of your chair and slightly lean back off your sit bones. Staying tall and wide through your chest inhale as you draw your knees up; exhale as you extend the legs. Repeat 10 times.
4) Reverse Plank - Place your hands on the side of your chair?s seat and walk the legs out forward with hips on the chair. Inhale to prepare and then exhale as you life your hips upward squeezing the backs of the thighs and hips. Hold for 1-2 second and return to seated position as you inhale. Repeat 10 times.
5) Seated Roll Up - Sit tall with feet firmly on the ground and shoulder width apart arms extended in front of you. Inhale as your curl the chin to your chest and slowly roll down between your knees to the floor. Reaching out and forward exhale as you roll your spine one vertebrae at a time up to seated position. LIft your body slowly feeling yourself lifting and stacking each vertebrae at a time. Repeat 10 times.
What would the ideal work environment look like in the eyes of a fitness expert?
Andrea Metcalf has been teaching fitness, training clients, and coaching on the subjects of nutrition and health since 1983. She is a published journalist, broadcast celebrity, and nationally known fitness, education, and motivational speaker. Her work has been featured on the Today Show, Oprah.com, and many other publications and media outlets. Her book Naked Fitness, published in 2010, presents a new way to align yourself, walk, and eat your way to feeling great in your own skin. Her DVDs – including PainFree, Pt-2-Go, Keeping Fit Cardio, Pilates, and Strength – are available nationwide.