Wednesday, May 20, 2015
Get Rid of your Sedentary Working Lifestyle
There are many health improvement initiatives you can do to mitigate the growing risks you face as a result of stymied physical activity in 21st century corporate America. But one major area that can make a huge health difference is to overhaul your sedentary lifestyle. Every health pundit knows that spending more time sitting means less physical activity that promotes weight gain and all the co-morbidities that increase your risks to heart disease and obesity. It may be easier said than done, but getting rid of your sedentary lifestyle can be one major strategic health improving initiative that can drastically reverse your body’s descent into all sorts of disease vulnerability. Make a stand towards a healthier working lifestyle. Literally, that is. Consider the following:
(1) Dr. John Buckley of the Chester University in England and a former university colleague, Professor Stuart Biddle, made a new year's resolution in 2013 to spend at least 3 hours each day standing instead of sitting on their desks. They both modified a lectern into a working desk on which they can do their work standing up. The former US Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld was known to work on his office papers standing up. To date, he remains in good health at age 81.
(2) A US survey conducted in 2003 - 2004 quantified the sedentary lifestyle when it showed that Americans spend on average half their waking time sitting, or 8 hours out of 16. That was not entirely surprising when you consider that for office employees in an 8-hour workshift, about the only time they get to stand up is when taking a 15-minute break to the pantry, or discharging a biological necessity. Fast food deliveries make it easy to get their lunch served while doing their desk jobs. This, not to mention the fact that they sit an hour or more driving to/from the office through rush hour traffic, eat with the family on the dining table, and watch TV on their favorite couch or in bed. Weekends could be just as bad if they spend more time in bed, watch the home movies they missed during the week, or play video games.
(3) Sitting is best done to relax the body for a few minutes in between physical activities. But with a sedentary lifestyle, sitting becomes the main activity to get work done on your PC. Sitting behind the desk burns around 80 calories per hour. On the other hand, standing burns around 115 calories per hour. A 35 calorie/hour burn difference may not be much but not when you spend an average of 8 hours each day seated. By the time you call it a day, you will have missed the opportunity to lose or not gain about 280 calories. A little more math will show that in a year, that translates to about 100,000 calories you failed to burn or 28 lbs that was either added to your weight or didn't lose.
Do yourself a favor and say goodbye to your sedentary lifestyle. It's a strategic health initiative that will require you to convert an old lectern into your working desk, modify a bar counter into one, or simply ask a good carpenter to build a 12-15-inch high pedestal to mount your desk. How much would that cost you? Maybe a few hundred dollars of customized carpentry work as an investment. But how much are you willing to spend to lose 28 lbs in a year? This is sound weight management and a healthier body you can get without even altering your food intake, daily routines, or leisure activities. Think about it and resolve to do the same thing as what Dr. Buckley and Prof Biddle did.