How much of your day do you spend seated? Six hours? Eight? Ten? More?
The hard truth is that most of us sit waaaaay too much – and it shows. It’s one of the big reasons behind the high rates of chronic disease in this country.
And it raises your risk of early death.
One of the most fascinating studies in recent years involved data from more than 222,000 older adults over the course of three years. Those who sat 11 hours a day or more had a 40% greater risk of death than those who sat less than 4 hours a day. It didn’t matter if they exercised regularly or not.
This same kind of elevated risk was discussed in a review of the science just published in Current Cardiology Reports. Again, it didn’t matter if the patients exercised or not. “Sedentary behavior,” said the authors, “may represent a distinct cardiovascular risk factor that is independent of the overall amount of physical activity.”
The take-away from studies like these? Get up and move.
To help, I’ve created a 3-minute video to demonstrate 5 simple, safe movements you can do virtually anywhere, even in the smallest of work spaces:
I’ve done these movements and variations at airports, on planes or whenever deadlines keep me working long hours at my desk. Set an alarm on your watch or smartphone and do these movements once an hour when you’re sitting for long stretches of time.
Try it for one week and then notice how you feel.
I’d be willing to bet that the familiar ache in your back isn’t as prominent. Perhaps your mood is a little brighter. Maybe you have a little more energy after work and find the motivation to hit the gym instead of skipping it.
If I could wish you one sustained change this year, this would be it: Move your body regularly to promote better circulation, range of motion and mindfulness.
Image by D68 design+art, via Flickr