Well it's official! The U.S. population sits so much we've created a new disease. Yes, sitting disease plaques more than 50% of the U.S. and those numbers are growing. According to current research, more than half of us sit more than 6 hours per day and 65% of people spend more than 2 hours per day watching television. In my opinion, I find these numbers to be a little low. I speak with patient's everyday and what I hear suggests much higher figures.
I'm sure this research doesn't shock anyone, however the next finding may. This study also concluded that if people spent less than three hours per day sitting they would add two years to their life! That's significant, some even call sitting the new smoking! Several studies show prolonged sitting linked to poor posture, spinal arthritis, disc herniation, diabetes, heart disease, stroke, and even cancer. These are serious health issues, some, that frequently end in death! Do I have your attention? I hope so, because here's the good news. If you're conscious about excessive sitting you can change it and add YEARS to your life! Here are some simple tips to sit less and live longer.
1. If you have been sitting for more than one hour, get up right away. Stand up at your desk, get a glass of water, stretch, anything just move!
General rule of thumb: for every one hour of sitting get up for 10 minutes.
2. Take one day and monitor your daily activities. Write them down and evaluate where you can insert standing or walking instead of sitting. Stand while folding the laundry, park farther away from the store, have walk and talk meetings at work, lunch time walks instead of going to a restaurant to SIT more, etc. Look at these activities and implement them slowly, that way they will become a habit.
3. Create a desk environment where you can stand or sit. Drafting desks work great; they can be raised and lowered quite easily. This may seem like a big task, however, living longer is important right?
4. Most of us work on computers and have to print to a network printer. Pick the farthest one in the office so you have to get up and walk longer. This may seem like a small change but it all adds up.
5. Use a Bluetooth and stand during phone calls. This not only gets you upright, it gets that nasty cell phone away from your brain.
6. Get a pedometer! Just wearing a pedometer has been shown to decrease sitting. We all need to be held accountable! This is a great way to monitor your steps per day. Wear it for 3 days with your current habits and check your steps. Then set a goal to double your steps per day!
7. Get the family involved; we all need to sit less. Lets not teach our children excessive sitting habits. Lets show them healthy living habits now before bad habits set in!