I’ve just been for a 5 mile hill-walk, which is something I usually do at weekends, but I’ve now brought a lot more resistance walking into my everyday fitness routine. So if it’s not cycling first thing, it’s walking, to get my day underway.
After a couple of hours exercise I have an appetite like a horse, something which I’ve had to learn to curb. But I’ll talk about diet another time.
I’m now standing in front of my desk ready to start work. The research I have done over the last 12 months suggests that many of us are sitting down far too much. In fact over 15 hours out of every 24 …and the consequences for our health are not good.
So I’m writing this Blog post standing up, and will be trying to work for the rest of the day standing. Something I have been experimenting with.
This has not been easy. Spending most of the day, standing, doing an occasional stretching exercise really helps. If you’re looking for a way to start some regular exercise this is an easy and effective way We have trained ourselves to always want to sit. Prolonged sitting is something we weren’t built for.
Think about it? Commuting – sitting for long periods in our Cars. On Public transport, always wanting to sit down. At Work, sitting at desks, Work stations. Our Leisure time is increasingly spent, surfing the net, and watching TV.
According to the latest research, people on average are watching for more than 5 hours a day.
You’re probably thinking, what’s the problem? If you exercise regularly, sometimes you have to, or want to sit down. Well yes this is true, but you need to be aware of the consequences.
Even if you’re exercising, it’s the actual act of sitting for prolonged periods of time that is causing major health problems for a lot of people. The statistics are staggering.
The impact on our health has been associated with Cardio vascular disease, Diabetes, Cancer, abnormal Metabolism, Obesity, and a greater risk of early mortality.
Your body, when it’s not being used goes through physiological changes. Inactivity signals your Brain to make changes to your metabolism. The changes cause an increase in Blood sugar levels, and a decrease in stored fat burning of up to 90%.
Electrical activity in your muscles is also slowed down, and your body only burns One calorie per minute. This is 1/3 of what you would usually burn when you are active.
I think it’s clear from this; our bodies aren’t designed for the sedentary, modern lifestyle. We are still Cavemen and our natural default is to stand and move.
Remember, exercise won’t help with this. It’s the act of prolonged sitting and what it does to your body when you do; that causes the problems. So what can we do?
The only answer is to stand, move and stretch more. You should aim to stand, walk and stretch for 10 minutes, for every hour that you sit. Being aware of this can help you make changes, we need to be more active and less sedentary at home and our place of work.
Organise your work environment, where possible, so you can stand more. A lot of Employers are becoming aware of this. It has also been proved that people are more productive when they are moving and stretching.
You can’t always stand up – you may be a driver, for instance, or operate equipment that necessitates you to sit, plan standing and moving breaks in your day. If you’re a Team Leader, have standing or walking meetings. Do stretching whenever you can.
If you have any kind of chronic back pain, which you’ve had treatment for; you will need to check with your Doctor before attempting any kind of exercise.
Do you want to learn more about stretching? Well is a great place to learn all you could ever want to know. stretchcoach.com.
If you have no back problem, just the usual fatigue that we all have sometime, especially if we have been sitting for a while, here is a great exercise which is so easy to do, and which I have started to use every day.
When you’ve been sitting down for a while, try standing up and doing this: This is called Back Extension Exercise, which you can do 3 to 4 times a day for 5 repetitions. This will relieve tension and soreness, and your back will immediately feel the benefit.
Ok, you’ve been sitting for a while, you can’t wait to move. So stand up, nice and straight. Your feet should be about hip width apart. Place your hands on top of your pelvis.
Next arch backwards and return back to standing. With each repetition try to go further back.
This exercise is very beneficial as a break from sitting; or to do first thing in the morning.
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