We have bad news and good news. The bad news…we have become sedentary. Our prolonged sitting is potentially as damaging to our health as smoking and obesity. On average we are sitting from 10-12 hours a day. More than three-quarters of Americans sit all day long. Sitting in our car, sitting at our desk, sitting in meetings, sitting in front of computers, sitting in front of the TV …that’s what our lives have become. We are chair-bound and it is compromising our health.
Our homes, our offices, our schools… almost everywhere we go is designed for our “sitting” comfort. Sitting is the easy default position of our daily lives.
About 15% of Americans belong to health clubs or get at least ½ hour of exercise per day, but this does not reverse the harmful effects of prolonged sitting.
Our knowledge about “sitting disease” has grown exponentially over the past 15 years. There have been about 10,000 scientific publications discussing the negative impacts that prolonged sitting can have on our health. A favorite quote out of many studies is “sitting is the new smoking”.
The good news…there is a simple and easy solution to our sitting dilemma. There is something all of us can do to improve our overall health, wellness and chance at longevity and it only takes minutes per day. Sit Less. Move More. More to come on how simply moving at regular intervals throughout the day can counteract the effects of prolonged sitting.
First, let’s take a look at what some of those negative effects are. Here is a laundry list of just some of the negative effects of prolonged sitting.
- Strained Neck
- Shoulder Pain
- Mid Back Pain
- Low Back Pain
- Joint Pain
- Swollen Legs
- Varicose Veins
- Increased Risk of Heart Disease
- Increased Risk of Diabetes
- Increased Risk of Obesity
- Increased Risk of Osteoporosis
- Increased Risk of Cancer
- Increased Risk of Early Death
In addition to the negative physical impacts of being sedentary, prolonged sitting negatively affects our mood, our cognitive processes, our creativity, our productivity and our overall happiness. Our quality of life is diminished by prolonged sitting.
Now for the really good news! Getting up and moving for just 2-3 minutes every half hour can help counteract the negative effects of prolonged sitting. Getting up and moving for short periods, at regular intervals throughout the day is more effective than 30-40 minutes of vigorous exercise.
Why does this approach work? It works because our bodies are designed to move. When we move, our body kicks into gear and functions the way it should.
When we sit for prolonged periods everything in our body stagnates. Our muscles, our fascia, the flow of our bodily fluids…everything all the way down to our cellular level stalls out. Our body doesn’t process our excess fuel, our blood pools around our organs and joints, our fascia becomes dehydrated, our brain gets sluggish…our body is literally aching to move.
I have been teaching yoga for over 15 years at a Fortune 500 company as part of their corporate wellness program. It is a fabulous benefit for the employees and continues to be a successful program. The only problem is that just a small percentage of the total employee population chooses to participate in the program.
I get it…the workday is busy with meetings, deadlines, projects, etc. It is tough to make a commitment to exercise for 40 minutes over your lunch time. And it doesn’t get any easier after work with family and personal commitments taking priority.
So for sometime, I have been interested in creating a program virtually everybody and anybody can do. One that you can do at your desk without having to go someplace to workout. One that doesn’t require special equipment, clothes or skills. One that can be done by people of all fitness levels and ages. One that takes just minutes each day and can easily fit into your schedule. One that helps people to Sit Less and Move More.
To that end, we have created a series of 2-3 minute videos that you can move with right at your desk. These videos are simple movement based exercises that will get your body moving and your energy flowing. These exercises are designed to help reverse the negative effects of prolonged sitting.
The solution to avoiding the negative consequences of prolonged sitting is so simple and easy to do. We invite you to join us in creating a movement to move. Take this first step to help yourself create a healthier and happier life.
SIT LESS. MOVE MORE.