I have previously blogged about the bad health consequences of sitting all day long. The vast majority of Americans sit for an average of over 7 hours a day. Sitting for most of your day puts you at an increased risk of diabetes, heart disease, certain types of cancer, and a shorter life span. Of course, sitting all day will also result in weaker bones, joints, tendons, and ligaments; and this is associated an increased risk of musculoskeletal problems as well. The really bad news, as we have discussed previously, is that even if you have a moderate program of exercise, working out 3-4 times a week, some of those risks won’t go away.
Researchers have examined how non-exercise activities may help counter obesity and the hazards of a sedentary lifestyle. They have found out that by incorporating a few simple changes in lifestyle, like: standing up frequently, walking short distances, stretching out, using stairs, parking our car farther away from the building, etc., can result in increasing the daily energy expenditure by as much as 2,000 calories per day (depending on body weight and intensity of activity). Increasing even low to moderate intensity activities can result in improvements on your health, and it may be necessary to do so, even if you work out 3-4 times/week.
Recently, I came across this clever invention: a cool looking, curved bamboo board that allows you to stand and rock back and forth. Researchers found a 15% increase in heart rate while using this board when compared with sitting (full disclosure: I have no financial interest in the company manufacturing and selling this product). Just another fun way that you can increase your non-exercise daily activities at the office and transition to a more active lifestyle.
So, the bottom line is that our sedentary lifestyle is taking a toll in our health, and we need to find more and better ways to get up from that chair and become more active.
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