You’re a health-conscious individual. You do your best to eat right, exercise, and avoid harmful activities. Naturally, this includes smoking. In fact, you wouldn’t think of poisoning your body with such disease causing chemicals. Which is why you might be surprised to learn that – even if you’ve never had a puff – one of your daily habits could be as bad for you as a pack of cigarettes.
Do I have your attention? Good, because the next few paragraphs could save your life – literally.
You see, there is one thing that all of us do (whether we’re forced to or just because we’re used to it) that’s killing us, and fast. We do this throughout the day – every day – and for several hours.
Still don’t know what I’m talking about? Let me give you a hint. You most likely do this the entire time you’re at work. Then, you come home to continue this activity at the dinner table. And then, you take it over to the couch in front of the TV.
I’m talking about sitting – the seemingly harmless activity that’s actually deadly. As it turns out, when you’re parked on your behind for hours at a time, your metabolism essentially shuts down. Not only are you burning fewer calories because of not moving, you’re also increasing your blood levels of triglycerides, cholesterol, and sugar.
The end result? Much higher chances of heart disease, cancer, and every other horrible ailment that comes to mind.
Now, most people believe that you can actually counter the deadly effects of sitting by hitting the gym, going for a morning run, or an evening walk. But that’s just not the case. One or two hours of exercise will not offset the 22+ hours of sitting.
With that said, some level of activity is better than none. In fact, studies show that people who exercise on a regular basis live longer than those that don’t (despite the fact that they sit for most of the day). Nevertheless, it’s not enough. And if you want to reach your golden years with your health intact, pay close attention to the following suggestions.
- Move as often as possible. This can be tough if you have a desk job (I know this first-hand) but not impossible. The secret is to break up your day into small tasks of about 30-45 minutes and take tiny breaks in between.
For example, let’s say you have several Emails to write before a scheduled meeting. Get them done then take 5 minutes to walk around the office. Or, go grab a cup of water from the cooler. It doesn’t matter what you do as long as you’re moving
- Keep yourself accountable. The only way to accomplish the above is to form a new habit. And it won’t be easy – especially not at first. As such, you’ll have to keep yourself accountable. The best way I know how to do this is with a small kitchen timer and a pedometer.
If you take the time to plan your day and split it into a number of tasks as mentioned above, the former isn’t always needed. The latter, however, is indispensable. A pedometer will let you know how many steps you’ve taken throughout the day.
If that number is minuscule, you’re obviously not doing your part. Either way, you’ll have something to remind you of your commitment (or lack of) at the end of the day. Based on that you can take appropriate action until movement becomes an ingrained habit – second nature if you will.
In closing, while sitting for prolonged periods of time is turning out to be as dangerous as smoking, you don’t have to suffer from its negative effects. All you need to do is move a bit. This will be a tad challenging at first as you modify your daily routine. But after a few weeks it will become a habit. And with that, you’ll drastically decrease your risk of disease and early death – not to mention – drop a few pounds in the process. A win-win overall.