The Cure to Sitting
The cure for too much sitting may be easier than you think! A recent study found that two simple actions can reduce many of a sedentary lifestyle’s adverse effects.
Substituting sleep and light physical activity for prolonged sitting is associated with lower stress, happier moods, and healthier body mass index. The research was conducted by Iowa State University and published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine.
You’re probably glad to hear this if you’ve been concerned about the health consequences of sitting but unable to find a practical solution. After all, it’s difficult to quit your desk job and squeeze marathon training into your daily schedule.
As it turns out, small changes can make a big difference. Try this no-sweat approach to sitting less.
The average adult sits for about 6 to 8 hours each day. Devoting some of that time to sleep could help you lose weight and reduce your risk for many severe conditions, including diabetes and certain cancers, as well as anxiety and depression.
- Limit screen time. Have you fallen into a rut of sitting at work and then watching TV in the evening? Cutting back on browsing and streaming will give you more time to sleep.
- Keep a consistent schedule. Move your bedtime back an hour each night to allow for 7 to 8 hours of rest. Try to stay on track during weekends and holidays.
- Nap wisely. Daytime sleep can help as long as it doesn’t keep you up at night—experiment with napping early in the afternoon for up to 30 minutes.
- Change your bedding. Maybe you need a new mattress or pillow. It also helps to keep your bedroom dark and quiet when you’re sleeping.
- Learn to relax. Are disturbing thoughts or stiff muscles interrupting your dreams? Find soothing rituals that work for you like meditation or a warm bath.
- Seek morning light. Sunshine wakes up your brain and prepares you to feel drowsy later in the evening. Open your bedroom windows and eat breakfast outside.
Even gentle activities can be practical. On the other hand, moderate and vigorous workouts provide more benefits, like building muscles and conditioning your heart. Talk with your doctor about how much exercise is right for you.
- Set a timer. If you tend to lose track of time, you may want a reminder to move around after about an hour of sitting. Use an app or a kitchen timer.
- Walk. Take a walk after lunch and add more steps throughout your day. Climb the stairs rather than riding the elevator.
- Stand up. Spend more time on your feet. Stand up during phone calls and business meetings. Watch TV from an upright position instead of lounging on the couch.
- Take exercise breaks. Use your breaks to jump rope or do pushups. Work your core and legs with a few yoga or Pilates moves.
- Stretch. Keep in mind that prolonged sitting shortens and stiffens your hip flexors and hamstrings. Stay limber by stretching your muscles and joints regularly.
- Do chores. Housecleaning, cooking, and yard work count too. Vacuum your stairs and weed your garden.
- Adjust your workspace. Trade-in your office chair for a standing desk or sit on a stability ball, so your muscles have to work to balance your body weight. When you’re working at home, place your laptop on a shelf that’s about elbow height.
If you’re spending extra hours at home lately, it may be even more critical to move more and sit less. Overcoming a sedentary lifestyle can be as simple as taking a nap and walking or standing while you work.
Do you want to banish sedentary lifestyle from your life forever? Schedule an appointment with me and discover your strengths.
Heal Your Body – One Step At A Time!