Sunday, March 19, 2017

We're Sitting Our Way To An Early Grave

When we think about how physically active our lifestyles were hundreds of years ago, and how inactive our modern day lifestyles are comparably, it's no wonder that we are a nation of unhealthy people. Our body's are made to do physical work in order to survive, based on our more primal survival needs. Foraging* is what we use to do in order to have food to eat. We have not adapted to our much less physical lifestyles.

Nowadays, about 58% of Americans live sedentary lifestyles (Sedentary Lifestyles, 2014). Much of this is because of the work that we do for a living. Many Americans work out of offices, and sit in office chairs for most of their work day. This is contributing strongly to heart disease and a shorter life expectancy. As a matter of fact, sedentary lifestyles are also contributing to colon cancer, high blood pressure, obesity, and diabetes (2014).

"Humans sit too much, so you have to treat the problem specifically,' says Hamilton. 'The cure for too much sitting isn't more exercise. Exercise is good, of course, but the average person could never do enough to counteract the effect of hours and hours of chair time (Masters, 2010)." We can't really change the fact that our jobs require us to sit for most of the day, but we can make a conscious effort to move out of those seats several times a day, in order to improve our health and increase our life expectancy.

Try making sure that you are standing for a few minutes every hour; whether that's going to do something that's necessary, or standing for 5 minutes while doing work at your computer. Also, even though exercise can't counteract the effects of sitting all day, it can most certainly improve your health and well being. If you lead a sedentary lifestyle, having a regular exercise routine is all the more important.

I am lucky to have a career in retail. I stand and am physically active for most of my 8 to 10 hours of work each day. There are other little things that I do to help with health and weight maintenance. I chose a third floor apartment, because I've always lived in a house with stairs, and was concerned about living in a place without them. I don't park in front of my building, because those few extra steps everyday will help my health and weight in the long run, AND I need to leave the closer spaces open for the elderly, the physically disabled, and parents with young children. I don't try to find the closest parking space at the mall or the supermarket for the same reasons, AND it cuts down on the probability of my car doors getting bumped.

We need to remember that our bodies are made to be challenged. When we keep taking the easy way out to do things, we pay with our health. It's important for us to keep moving, and to keep our bodies strong. It's even more important as we age, when most people can't move as much and begin to lose strength. We can fight against this by forcing our selves to stay active and making sure that we adopt a series of resistance exercises to keep our strength well into old age. Let's all age well with good health, agility, flexibility and strength.

Talk to you all next time! 😊

(Please do yourself a favor, and read the full article in the Men's Health link below, "Is Your Office Chair Killing You?" This isn't just for men.)

*Foraging-the acquisition of food by hunting, fishing or the gathering plant matter (dictionary.com).

References

IAFF. (2014). Sedentary lifestyles. IAFF.org.

Masters, M. (2010, October 27). Is your office chair killing you? Men's 
     Health.com. Retrieved from http://www.menshealth.com/health/
     staying-active/

Photo from Pixabay.com

2 comments:

  1. As a person that sits all the time working, thanks for this reminder Lisa. I don't have any physical limitations, so I must work it into my daily schedule. This is how I kept my weight under control.

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    1. Your welcome, Tara! I first read the articles on sedentary lifestyles while doing research for an essay for school. It was quite eye opening for me. We have to stay conscious about our health and well being, and more-so as we age. I'm happy that this was helpful for you. :-)

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