Many of us spend far too much time sitting at work and home to the detriment of our bodies, experts warn. Here’s how to shake up a sedentary lifestyle.
Shake up your sedentary lifestyle for the better.
YOU’VE PROBABLY HEARD THAT SITTING is the “new smoking” in terms of ill health and longevity. While our parents’ generation faced increased mortality rates linked to heavy smoking and drinking, today’s generations need to start thinking about being sedentary in the same way. Our bodies are not designed to sit for hours on end.
But most of us do: studies have found that the average worker spends 77 per cent of the day sitting down, whether at a desk, eating breakfast or dinner, driving to or from work, catching public transport or watching television at night. This puts us at far greater risk of developing
serious conditions such as heart disease, obesity, higher glucose levels and type-2 diabetes. Research shows a sedentary lifestyle can shave years off your life, with one study revealing every hour spent sitting in front of the television reduces lifespan by 22 minutes.
Studies have also shown the negative effects of longterm sitting cannot be reversed. And while regular daily exercise is important for general good health, it won’t protect you if your lifestyle is otherwise sedentary. The only solution is to develop a new habit of sitting less. Whether it’s by taking regular breaks, sitting “actively” on a fitness ball, standing at your workstation or even learning to use a treadmill desk, it is possible to break up your sitting hours.
Roll away An inexpensive foam roller is a useful tool for self-massage and stretching. LOOSEN UP When you get home from work, use a foam roller to reduce any tightness in your glutes, hip flexors, shoulder blades and lower back.