Get Fit & Stay Fit

Want to Get Healthy? Ditch the Couch

Sep 09, 2016

by Jeremiah Bailleu

Working an office job and binge watching Netflix after work may be affecting your body more than you think it is. Recent studies have shown that sitting more than seven hours a day can cause some pretty serious health complications. The human body was not built to sit for long periods of time.

How Sitting Impacts Your Health

According to James Levine, MD, PhD, excessive sitting impacts our body’s metabolic system. “Today, our bodies are breaking down from obesity, high blood pressure, diabetes, cancer, depression and the cascade of health ills and everyday malaise that come from what scientists have named sitting disease.”

The average American sits between seven and 15 hours per day. Sitting too long throughout the day can lead to discomfort and health complications including:

• Joint pain
• Varicose veins
• Strained neck
• Back pain
• Heart disease
• Increased cancer risk

Research suggests that when you sit down, enzymes that help break down fat in your body drop as much as 90 percent. Sit longer than two hours and HDL (“good” cholesterol) levels begin to decline. Research shows that the risk for cardiovascular disease is noticeably higher for people who spend too much time off of their feet.

8 Ways to Avoid the “Sitting Disease”

1. Stand Up At Least Once Per Hour  You should sit 20 minutes out of every half hour at work. We recommend that you try to work for eight minutes and then stand for two. Believe it or not, this practice may actually help you kick the back pain and keep your focus.

2. Take a Quick Walk  Run to the kitchen to grab some water, go the restroom or take a quick walk around your office or building. This will help you sustain the energy you need to make it through the workday.

3. Take the Stairs  Yes, you read that right. We are programmed to avoid the stairs at all costs if it is more than just a few floors up or down. You will be surprised how quickly you will enjoy taking the stairs if you can just make it a habit.

4. Stretching  Try to reach down and touch your toes for 20 seconds to get the blood flowing again. Stretching can work wonders for your circulation and your cardiovascular system.

5. Count Your Steps with a Fitness Tracker  Counting steps is the new trend in staying off of the couch these days. Make it a challenge with your coworkers, friends or spouse; you will be surprised how fun this can actually be. Try to get at least 3,000 steps per day to start and work your way up until you hit 10,000.

6. Park the Distance  It is in our nature to fight for the closest parking spot when we go somewhere. Try parking in the farthest parking spot you can find next time you run an errand. Not only will you get some extra steps in each day but your car can avoid the dreaded “door dings.”

7. Take the Pup for a Lap  If you have pets, they need to be getting as much exercise as you do. Put your active wear on and go for a quick stroll around the block with your dog. This is a great way to wind down after a long day of work and can help you burn some extra calories.

8. Schedule Your Evenings  Set time aside for dinner, television, walking  and preparing your food. This will help you manage your time so you can take the stress out of your night. If you prefer to get your exercise as soon as you get home from work, make that part of your schedule and commit to doing it as soon as you walk in the door. This will allow you to watch your favorite shows guilt-free at the end of the night.