Several weeks ago, I did my fifth speech for Toastmasters. The project objective is about body language and facial expressions. I am a fitness enthusiast; I thought it the perfect opportunity to encourage my audience to move more and sit less. My entry today is a modification of my speech. Enjoy!
Did you know that sitting is nearly equal to smoking as a risk factor for heart disease? The effects are the 4th cause of death worldwide. The results of how little we move and what we eat have surpassed the death rate for infectious disease for the first time in history. Sure, things like our commute, and to some extent, our jobs, make it unavoidable as related to work. Right now, we have a choice.
Stand! Stretch your upper back.. March in place. Kick your legs around a bit. Stay standing while you read my blog entry. This is what I mean by “quit the sit and groove the move”. Frequent, short breaks of standing and moving are found to make a positive impact on our health as much or more so that a single, longer exercise session.
I advocate for both. For the last 9 years, I’ve been committed to daily fitness both before and during work. The result is that, at 54 years old, I feel better than I did when I was much younger, even with arthritis and a challenge to my heart. I have less sinus and back pain, and smaller clothing sizes. A hard truth, though, is that if I would sit for 3 consecutive hours, the overall benefit of the longer routine is cancelled. Luckily, I get too uncomfortable, so I’ve devised ways to relieve the ache, particularly during work.
The most realistic time suggestion I found is to replace 2 hours of sitting with standing and moving, broken up into frequent small intervals. We must find what works for each of us. I offer what has worked for me and what could work for you, too.
Let’s start with work. With the right equipment, and the right shoes, it is possible to stand and work at our desks. If you have a workstation that adjusts for height, take advantage. My surface doesn’t raise high enough for me. Instead, I use a laptop lap desk on top of a milk crate. I have my monitors permanently raised on stacked packages of paper. Ideally you want to stand and move every 30-60 minutes, but I stand for 30 minutes to an hour 2-3 times each day.
For a 15-minute break, you already know about walking and stairclimbing. Have you considered the stairwell landing? I have kicked, danced, stretched, and boxed through my short break. (I actually did each of these moves in my speech.) Boxing, by the way, works your core as well as your arms. The important thing is to break from sitting as often as possible. We could change things up into 3 breaks of 5 minutes.
I work at the St. Louis headquarters of Wells Fargo Advisors, a large complex that includes a corporate gym. I eat lunch at my desk and take a 30 minute fitness break later. I walk one day, and use the gym the next day. The gym? I have time for that? Yes, because I always wear comfortable slacks, and I switch to a short-sleeved work-appropriate shirt., shortly before my break. Later, I change back. I have 15 minutes on the elliptical to burn 160 calories and break a small sweat. Consider joining our gym. You could have a fitness specialist design a workout of even less duration.
Back at home, we can continue the mini-workout concept. Dance to any music on TV. Move or stand while watching. Let the commercial run or hit pause, then move. If you have an Amazon Echo, ask Alexa for a 7 minute workout after enabling the skill. She can set a timer to remind you to get up. The internet has plenty of youtube workouts. I highly recommend JessicaSmithTV.com. Jessica has many different routines, even as short as 8 minutes. I often do the 9 minute low impact high intensity interval training (HIIT) workout in my morning exercise.
A few years ago, after doing therapy exercises on the floor to strengthen my hip and knees, I found it easy to do sit-ups and other moves, while I was already on the floor. There are multiple options to keep moving.
In closing, let’s make 2017 the year that standing and moving become part of our lives. Let’s quit the sit and groove the move! See you in the stairwell. You may be seated
I drew on these: Facts on Sitting and Physical Inactivity
- Physical inactivity is the fourth leading risk factor for global mortality and is responsible for nearly one in 10 deaths in the U.S. alone.
- For the first time in history, our own lifestyle choices turn out to be more deadly than infectious diseases. What we eat and how much we move are the crucial factors that will determine both the quality and length of our lives.
- For employers, the cost associated with physically inactive employees is 15.3% more than those who are physically active.
- High-intensity physical activity doesn’t keep these effects from occurring. As one study concluded, “an hour of daily physical exercise cannot compensate the negative effects of inactivity on insulin level and plasma lipids if the rest of the day is spent sitting.”
- Sitting 6+ hours at work increases risks of mental health issues, such as anxiety and depression.
- Low intensity, “non-exercise” activities like standing and walking are much more important than we realized. In fact, low-level activities play a crucial metabolic role and account for more of our daily energy expenditure than moderate- to high-intensity activity like running.
Another resource: http://www.juststand.org