I bought a Fitbit last year and promptly set it aside, never to use it. Well, that all changed when I met P at one of my many conferences. She asked if I had one, and I told her I did but I never used it. She told me how she loved hers for various reasons and said I should get it going so we could engage in a challenge. So after I came back from vacation (I told her I didn’t want any weird tan lines) I set it up. And it took me a whole 5 minutes max. I shot her a note to let her know and she invited me to the challenge. Now the app not only tracks my steps but shows how we are doing against each other. Now I don’t consider myself a competitive person, but this is fun! We all know the 10,000 steps a day goal, and now I have one of the easiest ways in the world to track it AND a friend to do it with. Thank you, P!That conversation and needing a reason to get my ass out of my work chair also coincided with the now infamous line that sitting is the new smoking:
…The Los Angeles Times recently interviewed Dr. James Levine, director of the Mayo Clinic-Arizona State University Obesity Solutions Initiative and inventor of the treadmill desk. Levine has been studying the adverse effects of our increasingly sedentary lifestyles for years and has summed up his findings in two sentences. “Sitting is more dangerous than smoking, kills more people than HIV and is more treacherous than parachuting. We are sitting ourselves to death.
Levine is credited with coining that mantra — “sitting is the new smoking” — but he’s not the only one who believes it. Researchers have found and continue to find evidence that prolonged sitting increases the risk of developing several serious illnesses like various types of cancer, heart disease and type 2 diabetes.
Another reason the smoking analogy is relevant is that studies have repeatedly shown the effects of long-term sitting are not reversible through exercise or other good habits. Sitting, like smoking, is very clearly bad for our health and the only way to minimize the risk is to limit the time we spend on our butts each day.1
As if that isn’t bad enough, here are 5 ways sitting is shortening your life1:
1. Increases the risk of obesity
2. Increases the risk of Type 2 Diabetes
3. Frequent sitters are more susceptible to muscular issues
4. Interferes with LPL (lipoprotein lipase is an enzyme that breaks down fat and uses it as energy)
5. Higher risk of developing depression
YIKES! I was sitting at least 7 hours a day at my desk working. I have never had a job where I was this sedentary. And to find out my regular exercise routine wouldn’t necessarily counter the effects of sitting was eye opening.
So how can we all get more movement into our work day? Here are some ideas (most of which I am sure you have heard before):
1. Set reminders to stand up
2. Choose the stairs over the elevator
3. Schedule “walking meetings”
4. Walk to a co-workers desk instead of emailing them
5. Park farther away from the office building
6. Take a fitness or yoga class on your lunch hour
7. Try a standing desk or treadmill desk
8. Use a bathroom that is on a different floor
9. Send your documents to a printer on the other side of the office
10. Take phone calls standing
I also recommend a pedometer to track your steps. Now you don’t have to go out and spend $100+ on something fancy. You can get an old school pedometer for under $20 that will work just fine.
Moving more at work could also lead you to want to move more AFTER work. We all spend too much time watching TV or surfing the web. Try some of the above at home (like standing while talking on the phone/texting or using a bathroom on a different floor). Find new ways to move like doing some easy stretches or exercises like squats during commercial breaks. Dance. Anything to get the body off the couch and moving just a little more – it all adds up.
Now that we are inspired to get up and get moving, how about we spread the joy to our children? I don’t have kids but it is no mystery that technology has our kids sitting on their cans WAY more now than in the past. Do some movement as a family, or maybe have a family challenge. And with the holidays upon us, maybe a round of pedometers for all is a gift that keeps on giving.
Now if you will excuse me I need to get my butt out of my chair and do a few laps around the office. GET MOVING TO GET THE MOST OUT OF LIFE!