If “sitting is the new smoking” what can we do if our work requires it and the sofa beckons during long Winter evenings?
Dr. James Levine coined this phrase having spent 30 years studying the harmful effects of too much sitting. Articles in The Lancet in 2012 and this year show physical inactivity is a risk factor for heart disease, type 2 diabetes and certain types of cancer.
Whilst researchers are still trying to pinpoint why sitting is so risky, their studies show getting out of our seats now could save us the pain and enfeebling effects of these diseases (and, I guess, keep us out of a wheelchair) later. Working standing up isn’t enough (University of Exeter study, 2015), we need movement. Exercise also reduces the risk of stroke, a major cause of vascular dementia.
We all know of someone who died suddenly and too soon and the devastating effect on their family. If working activity into the day could save you and your family the trauma of your suffering and premature death isn’t it worth a try? Here are some ideas to get you started:
Stairs are your friend. Yes, we know we “should” shun the escalator or lift. Did you know that poor circulation as a result of diabetes 2 means you could lose a leg or a foot? No, nor did I.
Park further away. In any car park pick a space as far away from the shop or office as you can manage or walk a few times around the building before going in.
No equipment workouts. http://www.nhs.uk/Livewell/loseweight/Pages/Tenminuteworkouts.aspx Invite family or friends to join you to make it social and if you feel self-conscious doing this on your own in the office, buddy up with co-workers and book a meeting room.
Talk rather than email. Perhaps call to check now is a good time then go talk to a colleague rather than emailing back and forth. The job gets done quicker and you get to know each other better.
Walking meetings. Something to consider when you and a small group are trying to solve a problem or do something innovative. A change of scenery, of perspective could produce a change in thinking.
Take the long way home. We tend to take the shortest route anywhere. Try walking 5 – 10 minutes to get back to your house or desk after lunch, an errand or a meeting.
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