Don’t Let All The Sitting Kill You: 10 Activities That You Can Incorporate Daily.

Here We Go Again With The Sitting Studies

We’ve been hearing a lot recently about how bad sitting is for us.  Not too long ago researchers concluded that the study they conducted showed that no amount of exercise can undo the damage of sitting all day. I wrote about it here.

Last week the results of a similar study conducted in Australia reinforces this ‘sitting is bad for us’ theory this once again.  The Australian study analyzed self-reported data from more than 222,000 people age 45 and up and found that the mortality risks is 15 percent higher for people that sit eight hours a day and 40% higher for folks that sit eleven.

I need to get up and move around (Flickr photo by Josh Semans)

Here’s a list of some of the negatives that come from too much sitting:

  • Muscle atrophy
  • Loss of energy
  • Increased risk for diabetes, heart disease, variety of cancers
  • Poor posture
  • Higher levels of blood fats and markers of insulin resistance

Same Stuff, Different Day

Now that different research projects are returning similar results it’s time to think about an action plan that will get us off our tush and on our feet a little more each day. The City of Presque Isle in Northern Maine came up with one of the best strategies to combat all of the sitting their city employees were doing at their desk jobs.  It’s a plan that might work for you and your co-workers.

Sit for 60, Move for 3

The City of Presque Isle borrowed the concept Sit for 60, Move for 3 from Maine’s Cardiovascular Health Program.  From the Sit for 60, Move for 3 concept, the City created a policy that would encourage employees to get up and move around for three minutes every hour.

No doubt breaking up the sitting at work is a good idea, but we also need to be attentive to what we’re doing once we leave work.  Many after-work activities also take place from a chair:  watching our kid’s athletic events, taking a class, watching T.V., surfing the web, pinning, Facebooking, blogging, and reading all need to have the 60/3 principle applied to them.

Ten  3-Minute Activities To Try At Work Or At Home

Here’s a list of ten activities that you can add to your day – with minimal effort I might add – that will get you out of the chair for three minutes at a stretch.

  1.  Wear a pedometer and track how many steps you take in three minutes.  If you walk for three minutes 12 times a day, you’ll add 36 minutes of walking to your day.
  2. Do two or three sets of wall push-ups in your office.  You might not be comfortable getting down on the floor (if you are, go ahead) but you can push off from the wall for several repetitions to get your heart rate up a little.
  3. Keep some light weights in your desk.  Stand up and do a set of bicep curls, tricep kick-backs, lateral shoulder raises and upper back flies twice a day. Not only will you be moving, your arms will be ready for summer gear.
  4. Encourage your co-workers to incorporate walking meetings.  At this time of the year the weather is nice enough to take meetings outside and around the block.
  5. Instead of sending all of your communications by e-mail get up and walk to the desk or office of the person that you were addressing the e-mail to.
  6. Park the car in the spot farthest away from the building.  I know this may sound old and cliché’ but do it anyway.  I’ve done this for years to the point where it used to annoy my youngest daughter.  Now that she drives she does it too.
  7. Skip the drive-through and make dinner for you and your family.  Making meals in the kitchen will assure that you’re moving around during the preparation and clean-up.
  8. Walk in place during the commercials breaks when you watch T.V.  This is a tip that one of my co-workers said she was doing during our Put Down The Cookie program at work.  What a great idea!
  9. Get out of your chair and pace around when you talk on the phone.  With a Bluetooth you can wander out in the yard and pull a few leaves or water the flowers while you talk.
  10. Put the T.V. remote control across the room.  Everytime you want to change the channel you’ll have to get up to get it. If you’re a channel surfer you’ll be able to get quite a few steps in.

This is simple stuff, but if it’s done on a regular basis can add up to a significant amount of movement.

What have I missed?  In the comment box below please share some of the things you’re doing to move around more throughout the day.