April 23, 2012
I don’t know about the rest of you ladies, but when I get to work each morning, I sit down at my desk. I sit through a majority of my workday, and when the work day is done I get in my car to sit some more on my drive home. This adds up to more than eight sedentary hours a day, not to mention the hours I spend sleeping or kicking back on my couch in the evening. It’s kind of appalling, and I know it.
But I’m not alone. A New York Times article that came out in 2011 stated that 80% of American jobs are sedentary and that this has caused a rise in obesity. A January 2011 article in the European Heart Journal said that sitting leads to negative effects on cardiometabolic function – which translates to a wider waste line, and that is ultimately risky for the heart. A recent Yahoo article cited a study that literally suggests eight hours a day could kill you. That may sound dramatic, but the experts all seem to agree that a sedentary lifestyle is less than ideal.
I cannot offer medical advice on the whole sitting situation – talk to your doctor for that – but I do know from experience that I feel a lot better if I try and shake off all that sitting throughout the day. And when I don’t have to sit, I try to take advantage of it. Here are a few suggestions I have to counteract the effects being stuck in a chair all day:
- Get up and stretch or walk to the water cooler or a colleague’s office once an hour.
- Do “squats” at your desk: Once an hour, lift yourself about an inch off the seat of your chair and activate your glutes and quads. Hold for 3-5 counts and repeat five times.
- Be sure the chair that you sit in all day, every day, is comfortable for you. Discomfort during work certainly won’t help performance and your HR department should be willing to accommodate a request for an ergonomic chair.
- Spend at least 10 minutes standing up when you get home from work. Tidy up the kitchen, walk to the mailbox or catch up on your favorite blog or news site while standing instead of going straight to the couch.
- Be sure to get in the recommended amount of physical activity, as set forth by the CDC, to compensate for those sedentary hours.
My favorite way to mitigate all that sitting is to focus on working my buns at the gym with a few strengthening exercises. Certain yoga poses are great for this, such as the Warrior One pose or Half-moon pose. Another great butt-blaster is to lie back in a sit-up position but instead of doing sit-ups, raise the pelvis and squeeze the glutes. Lift, hold, lower. Lift, hold, lower. It burns soooo good.
These are just a few of the ways I try to keep my derriere perky even though I’m stuck in a chair all day. I know the sedentary lifestyle is not recommended, but it is how a lot of us pay the bills so we’ll just have to figure out how to balance it out.