You’ve seen that advice about smoking hazardous to your health which is posted on every package of cigarettes. Now they may be putting a similar warning on the very chair you sit on. It was just fifty years ago when half of American jobs involved moderate physical activity, often in manufacturing or agriculture. Today less than 20% are physically active at work. The rest spend most of their time sitting in a chair at work and at home. Most Americans now spend more time sitting than they do sleeping. Many spend 10 hours a day in a car, at work or at home in a chair. The problem is worse with older Americans. Nearly 75% of middle age and older Americans are sedentary, and more than 40% get no physical activity at all. Women who sit more than six hours a day outside of work had a 34% higher risk of death than those who sat fewer than three hours a day. Even physically active men were 64% more likely to die of heart disease if they sat more than 23 hours a week in front of the TV.
Going for a daily walk will immediately help you feel better. Regular walking can help protect the aging brain against memory loss and dementia, help cut the risk of heart disease, and reduce the change of developing type 2 diabetes in high-risk adults. You can reduce your risk of developing cancer by merely getting at least 30 minutes a day of moderate-to-vigorous exercise.
How to Get Started
Start by thinking of ways to add physical activity to your workday and leisure time. You might consider parking your car a few blocks away from where you work and walk to and from the office. Walk up a few flights of stairs a few times every day. Reduce TV viewing. There are many who will watch 10-12 hours of football games every weekend. During a commercial or time out, you can drop down and do 10-15 push-ups or sit-ups. The famous Heisman Trophy winner and professional football player, Herschel Walker, said he never lifted weights but did push-up and sit-ups during commercials while he was watching T.V.
Consider working on your computer while standing up.
Deliver message to colleagues in person instead of texting or E-mailing.
Set the clock in your computer to remind you to stand up and stretch every 30 minutes.
Train yourself to standup when the phone rings.
You can place the waste paper basket on the other side of the room, which forces you to stand up and walk a few feet to make a deposit into the waste paper basket.
If you have to use the restroom, walk up a flight or two instead of using one down the hall on your floor.
Take a brisk 20-minute walk at lunch and eschew the desert.
Bottom Line: Americans, we need to get moving and spend less time sitting. There are simple ways to get more exercise even if you have a sedentary job. Remember, your chair may be dangerous to your health.