Do you have a long commute, have a desk job or are working from home?
More and more people are sitting for long periods of time. Although we have heard sitting for long periods of time is not good for us, how BAD is it REALLY?
There have been numerous studies into the health effects of sitting for prolonged periods of time. These health issues include a higher risk of diabetes Type 2, obesity, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, cancer, heart disease and early death. Sitting for prolonged periods also impairs your circulation which can lead to swelling in your ankles, varicose veins and blood clots. In addition, many of our patients experience neck and back pain due to prolonged sitting. The health effects are well documented.
Did you know that sitting for longer than 6 hours a day can also contribute to anxiety and depression? In fact, a study led by psychological scientist, Michelle Kilpatrick, of the University of Tasmania found that there was a significant relationship between sitting and rates of psychological distress.
Here are some easy tips to help ease the health and mental health effects of our increasingly sedentary lifestyle.
- Set your timer on your phone or fitness tracker to go off every 30 minutes. Get up and stretch, breathe, go get a drink, walk the hall or your stairs, do squats, lunges or leg lifts. Those little bits of time and activity will add up to help both your physical and mental health.
- Try a stand-up desk or a high table. There are many different versions of adjustable, stand-up desks that are extremely affordable. Stand up desks allow for better blood flow and circulation and are becoming increasingly popular.
- Try a Yoga Ball or Yoga Ball Chair. This is another great alternative to a regular chair or stand up desk. Yoga ball chairs also help you get a little extra core work while encouraging better posture. Make sure the ball is not too big or too small.
- Stand up and march in place, do leg lifts, squats or lunges while you are talking on the phone or watching television. Use these normally inactive times to get a little movement.
- Get together with a friend or colleague before work, at lunch or after work to go for a walk. This is a great opportunity to catch up, spend some quality time together while getting some exercise. If you have the opportunity and decent weather to walk outside, you get the bonus benefit of some Vitamin D!
- If you do have to sit for your job, make sure you are using an office chair that fits you correctly. Your hips should be above the level of your knees when seated and your feet should be flat on the ground underneath your knees. In addition, proper lumbar support is important. Try a lumbar support pillow or prop a rolled up towel behind your low back. You should be able to comfortably reach the backrest without having to arch backwards.
We hope these tips help you feel better, heal better and LIVE better!