When you were a child, how many times during your youth do you remember your teacher, parents and other adults telling you to SIT STILL? It’s probably something you even tell your own children now, but is sitting without moving actually healthy, or even natural?
According to the latest research, the answer is a resounding, “NO”!
Before we traded in our hunter-gatherer lifestyles for a position behind a desk, our bodies were in almost constant motion. They had to be for us to survive, since the plants and animals that we rely on to nourish us weren’t exactly running up to our feet screaming, “here I am, please eat me”.
Of course, things are much different now, as all we need to do to secure a meal is step into a grocery store or a restaurant. As we’ve transitioned from the field to the office, we’ve created a whole list of health problems.
You may have heard the phrase, “sitting is the new smoking”, and there is no doubt that sitting for prolonged periods is hazardous to your health. Spending 8 hours a day hunched over a computer has caused a significant uptick in heart disease, diabetes, colon cancer, muscle atrophy, soft bones, poor blood circulation, strained necks, backs and shoulders and, with all of that, increased mortality. According to one study, people who watched the most TV have a 61% greater risk of dying than those that watched less than one our per day.
Since computer jobs aren’t going away any time soon, many people have opted for using a standing desk. While these can be a better option, they aren’t exactly the best option, either. But why?
At the end of the day, it’s much less about sitting vs standing and much more about MOVEMENT!
As it turns out, the kids were right all along. Our bodies were designed to move, and there is simply no substitute. If you have an office job, there are some things you can do to help. Try to get up and take a brisk walk for 5 minutes every hour. Some people argue that they don’t have time for this at work, but that short walk can clear the mental fog that comes with lack of movement and boost your production. You can also transition between sitting and standing every 60-90 minutes. This keeps you working different muscle groups throughout the day.
To really boost the benefits of standing at work, dig in your pocket and spend some money on a standing wobble board. Many of these are quite expensive, but there is one readily available on the market (Simply Fit Balance Board) that is basically indestructible and it’s only about $40. Using one of these for 5 minutes every hour while you’re standing activates every muscle in your body and really charges up your brain. It’s the best thing going right now for those of us that are anchored to the same spot all day.
Each of these measures help, but there is absolutely no substitute for movement. Your body NEEDS exercise. I know, I know, you don’t have the time…or do you? Check out the video below and I’ll explain why you absolutely have enough time to exercise every day.