FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Several studies over the past year indicate serious health risks can occur from doing nothing. Remaining sedentary for 7-9 hours a day, which most americans do, poses some major health problems.
WINK News Fitness Expert Mike Drumm joined WINK News This Morning to explain why sitting all day is bad for you and gives us some solutions to the problem.
Studies show sitting all day, at a desk job, while driving, or any other sedentary lifestyle increases your risk of type 2 diabetes, cancer, and heart disease. It can even increase the size of your fat cells! One study in particular found if Americans could reduce the time they spend sedentary/seated to three hours or less daily, the life expectancy would increase by two years.
Similarly, cutting back TV to fewer than two hours per day improves life expectancy by a few years. Researchers are quick to point out it isn’t the TV or driving itself causing these problems, but the habits that they encourage. The binge eating, the lack of exercise, the stress, all play a role in increasing your likelihood for poor health.
Ways Sitting at a Desk affects your Body
Sitting can take a permanent toll on your body if you're not careful. The average adult spends 90% of their leisure time sitting. Yes, you have to work, but when you go home it's so important you don't go back to sitting in front of the computer or television. It's really about what you're doing in your leisure time and making the decision to move. You can avoid a host of ailments by taking a few simple steps.
Tight Hips. If you sit at your desk too long, especially with your legs crossed, you may notice that your hips begin to tighten up. And once you stand up, it may even be difficult to walk.
- If you feel tightness in the hips, try a butterfly stretch. From a seated position, bring the bottoms of your feet together and open them like a book.
Lower Back Pain. This is one of the most common complaints for those that sit at a desk all day. The lower back begins to feel cramped and locked. It too needs to be stretched throughout the day to avoid pain.
- Try upward facing dog. The legs and arms should be extended and the pelvis should be off the mat. Hold and breathe for five breaths.
Computer Vision Syndrome
Staring at a computer for too many hours a day can actually cause vision problems. It’s called computer vision syndrome and it makes your eyes burn and water, and lead to headaches.
- To avoid it, remember to blink. While it seems simple, when you’re staring at a computer, often you stop blinking causing dry eyes. The top of the computer should be at eye level. Take breaks and remember to look around the room every once in a while.
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome. It’s caused by a repetitive motion such as typing. It can put pressure on the nerves in the hand and can cause numbness, tingling, weakness, or muscle damage in the hand and fingers.
- Make sure that your keyboard is low enough that your wrists aren't bent upwards. Periodically stretch your wrists by turning your palms away from your body and releasing the palms down to your desk to stretch the inside of the wrist.
Shoulder Tightness. Your shoulders are so knotted that your massage therapist doesn't know where to start. At the end of every stressful day you can feel the tension. Tight shoulders are common because of the way we sit and because we often hold stress in our shoulders.
- Start by working on your posture. Lift your shoulders up to the ears, push them back a few inches, and then drop them back down. Notice the difference in posture. Avoid hunching over your computer screen and remember to breathe.
Just What the Doctor Ordered
One study found that sitting too much was just as bad as smoking. Jobs are a necessity for most of us, so how can you combat the 8 hour workday and not spend the majority of your life sitting or laying down? If you work an office job and have little choice over being sedentary, be sure to at least take care of the basics. Here are some easy and important tips for integrating motion into your everyday life:
- Make time for 30 minutes of moderate physical activity at least five days a week
- Stand up and move for 2 minutes for every 20 minutes that you’re seated. 1 HR = 6 min
- Take lunch (and a walk) with a friend or by yourself to clear your head and get moving
- Take a walk and talk in person instead of emailing a co-worker, it will probably be more beneficial to talk in person anyway
- Take a close look at your leisure time and analyze how much time you spend at home on the computer or watching television, rather than playing outside.
Whatever you do, keep in mind that staying stationary, though relaxing, isn’t better for you. If your favorite way to relax is by kicking back on the couch, be sure to keep that time to a minimum. In your free time, spend time figuring out ways to be more active, especially if you’re part of the majority of Americans that are stuck at a desk all day.
Why You Should Start Stexting (that is not Sex-ting lol)
I’ve recently started trying a new way to sneak more physical activity into my day… stexting, We all text a lot, and in reading a recent fitness professionals article it said that whenever they sent a text they had to be “standing.” Hence the term “stexting.” It is a combination of “standing” with “texting,” which is exactly what you’ll do. Every time you send a text, do so while standing. Not walking, not driving, and, definitely not sitting. So startSTEXTINGright now. I’m stexting all the students in my 8AM small group training class right now that they better be ready to work hard today because I am feeling EXTRA motivated J