How long are you sitting per day?
Whether you are working or not, a lot of us are spending a lot of our days sitting on our bums. This can have some detrimental impacts on our health. Sitting has recently been branded ‘the new smoking’ in terms of its public health risks, especially for people with office jobs.
We’re not built to sit for too long
According to research, we all sit far too much. It’s estimated that we spend on average, 7.7 hours sitting – that’s about half of our waking hours.
Today’s modern lifestyle and use of technology has led to a climb in sedentary activities like sitting at a desk, sitting in the car and sitting watching TV, to name just a few. This inactive way of life also comes with a load of aches, pains and groans.
Humans are built to stand up-right, so it makes sense why sitting for long periods of time isn’t good for us!
What does sitting for too long do to me?
Slumping over a desk chair and bad posture looking at a screen can cause havoc on your body. Neck, shoulder and back pain are just the tip of the iceberg that lead to a number of other physical problems.
Sitting is also bad for your hip extensors and hip flexors (both play a vital role in hip movement). Being seated in the sitting position for a length of time weakens your hip extensor and stiffens your flexors – both of which cause pain and negative long-term side-effects.
Sitting can also shut off the electrical activity in your leg muscles leaving you with stiff and sore legs.
And it’s not only physically that this sedentary regime negatively affects us, our brain power suffers too.
When your muscles aren’t moving and pumping fresh blood and oxygen to your brain, your brain function can slow down. So you’re not really as productive – physically or mentally – as you thought you were.
Last, but not least, it can also lead to increased risk of depression and chronic stress.
Scientists globally agree – The less time spent sitting the healthier we will be!
It’s ok, I did my exercise today…or is it?
You may think by doing exercise throughout your week you would counteract all the negatives of sitting, but this is not necessarily the case.
Exercise can’t really protect you from the health risks associated with long unbroken periods of sitting. The problem lies in the actual sitting for a continuous span of time. This is when the damage is done.
Inactivity shuts down a lot of the good that your workout did. The key here is to keep active regularly and break up the sitting.
The simple act of standing up and stretching can jolt all those ‘paused’ processes – like calorie-burning – back into action.
Many studies done on sitting and weight-gain found that those who took more standing breaks, stretches and walks throughout the day had smaller waists and increased fat and sugar metabolism functions.
So what can I do?
While it’s impossible to completely stop sitting – or in some cases if your job demands a great deal of sitting time – you can make a few changes that will have a positive impact on your health.
Simply standing up changes things. Make a conscious effort or even set an alarm every 20 minutes to stand up. Ramp it up a little by standing on one leg then alternating.
Take walking breaks
If you can’t stand up or are a bit self-conscious doing one-leg shifts, then go for a walk. Consider walking to the kitchen to get a glass of water (doubly good for your health) or even walking outside for a quick breather.
Start a trend in the office and watch how popular it becomes! if you’re working from home, take your meetings for a walk.
Ramp up your lunch
Use your lunch hour to increase blood flow and activity by doing some sort of exercise or activity. Consider finding a Live Life Get Active camp close to you or take one of our daily live-streams and book yourself into a quick session.
Set yourself quick activity challenges
For example, during a standing break, do 20 squats or 10 star jumps to get the blood flowing again. Squats and glute exercises are especially good in countering any damage to the hip extensors and flexors.
Set up your workspace
There are so many more options these days to create an ergonomic workspace. Sitting desks are no longer the only option, there are standing desks, desks that allow you to sit-and-stand and even treadmill desks. Plus if you’re standing for a long time think about investing in an anti-fatigue standing mat, your feet will thank you for the underfoot comfort.
Chairs are also developing in leaps and bounds. Ergonomic chairs come in all shapes and sizes and even kneeling chairs are becoming a preferred option for many. Don’t’ forget the tools – the right anti-glare monitor setting and correct positioning, together with ergonomic mouse and keyboards are the cherry on the top.
Work your fingers
If you have a desk job where you’re typing all day, exercise your fingers. Grab a rubber band and do some stretching-tension workouts; massage your hands, wriggle your wrist (think about carpal tunnel syndrome).
Reduce TV/screen watching time
instead of sitting down to four hours a night, cut it down to two. Maybe do something ‘active’ during a movie or do a few sit-ups during the advertisements.
It may not always be possible to avoid long-periods of sitting, but we can take action to reduce its impact.
So leave the office, register and come and join us in the park or a live-stream. Stand up… Walk around… Have fun and extend your life.
Our new online offering brings our style of welcoming, non-intimidating exercise sessions for you to enjoy in the comfort of your home or garden, at any time! Click here to access all our daily live-streams and on demand videos.
Where are Live Life Get Active Camps held?
We have Active Camps at a number of cities and regional areas around Australia – see our locations page for more details.
More camps are opened each month, so follow us on Facebook to keep up to date.
Do I need to sign-up?
Yes, you need to register with Live Life Get Active.
You must also book in for every session you want to attend.
I’m having troubles when registering, can you help?
If you cannot complete the sign-up process, please contact our Help Desk to resolve the issue.