If you live in the Washington, DC area chances are you sit every morning and evening traveling to/from the office. When you’re not commuting, you probably sit a good 8-9 hours at your desk. Then you get home after the long work day and all you want to do is sit on the sofa with a good book, watch funny TV show or worse, get online to do more work. Start to add up your sitting hours and the next thing you’ll find is you probably sit a solid 50% or more of your day.
Even if you go to yoga class, run marathons or hit the gym religiously, sitting long periods daily can negate the healthy benefits of your exercise regime. I recently told a private yoga client this and she gave me a bizarre look. It wasn’t much more than a year ago the American Heart Association stated too much sitting could be just as dangerous as smoking. There’s more…Google “sitting disease” and you’ll find a slew of articles the risks of sitting too long. Even the Mayo Clinic has an article “Do you have Sitting Disease?”
Attention sitting professionals (that’s you if you have a desk job): Make it a habit to take a 2 – 5 minute break from the computer every hour. Simply, schedule it as a reminder in your calendar so it pops up on your computer. Or put a sticky note on your monitor and write something like “move and breathe” or “stretch and refresh”.
If you want to stretch and not sure exactly what to do, I stumbled upon this article: Stretch Away Stiffness – 7 Yoga Moves for Office Workers. There’s even a Yoga App aimed at sitting professionals who are at high risk for the sitting disease. “If you are like 86% of all American adults, you’re probably doing something that’s dangerous to your health: sitting on your bum. Study upon study proves that sitting for long stretches can negatively impact your body, increasing your risk of cancer, heart disease, diabetes, and even death. Sitting 11 or more hours a day increases your chance of dying within the next three years by 40%.” Read the full article here.
Even if stretching isn’t your “thing”, there are multiple reasons to turn away from your desk every hour even if it’s only a minute. Give your eyes a rest from staring at the computer screen. Take some deep breaths – nourishing your body with fresh oxygen and help release the stale air (i.e. toxins). Walk to fill up your water bottle. Change your physical perspective and you’ll sit back down with a better mental perspective. Try it…what do you have to lose?