Human bodies aren’t meant to sit all day. They are meant to walk, run, lift, carry, even swim.
These days most of us are not moving enough, and I pretty sure you are aware of the difference being locked down has made.
And even if there was no lockdown there are those of you who don’t like going to the gym, lifting weights or doing other group classes. But I would not put movement and exercise in the same category. Moving around is a very low key activity which we can and should be keep doing throughout the day whereas cardio or strength training should be reserved for short period of time (30-60 minutes) where we train from 60-100% of our VO2max
Movement is life and you directly feel the difference right away. When you sit, your muscles relax and your blood doesn’t pump as efficiently. That means less blood to your heart, higher blood pressure, and less efficient elimination of fat and waste products. Prolonged sitting has been linked to insulin resistance; a higher risk of cancers, including colon and breast cancer; muscle atrophy; circulation problems; neck and back strain.
And of-course you burn 30 percent more calories standing than sitting, so if you sit less, you will probably drop some weight, even without changing anything else.
So what can you do?
My experience the last months
Take every opprortunity to wake-up early and connect with nature, breathe freash air and move. I had the luck to be able to work at my garden every day for a few weeks in November and December and it was a life changing experience.
January on the other hand was not such a good month. The lockdown, the weather, work and the daily cycle all contirbuted to having 5.6K steps on avg/day. And I really felt i was sitting all day.
So I get you and all the tips below will be in my daily routine already from today!
- Set a reminder. When you are sitting for a long time, whether at a desk, in a car, or in front of the television, set a reminder on your watch, phone, or computer to get up and walk around for five to ten minutes every hour. Don’t think you will get less work done—the stimulation will help you work more efficiently, which should more than make up for the time not sitting. Stand up.
- Track your steps. Make an effort to walk around 6K steps per day. If you move a bit every hour, walking 6Ka day should be not an issue.
- Invest in a standing desk (or make one with things you already have), so that you spend some of your day on your feet. Some companies will pay for these desks for their employees.
- Don’t be a couch potato. If you are watching television at home, find things to do that keep you moving, like folding laundry, doing sit-ups and leg lifts or basic yoga poses. I find myslef most of the time doing some simple stretching.
- Never sit when you can stand. Never stand when you can walk. The more activity you incorporate into your day, the less time you will have for sitting. Sometimes you have to sit, of course, but when it’s not essential, challenge yourself to stand up and/or move around.
- Squatting or even sitting on the ground is better for your body than sitting in a chair. Obviously you have to sit some of the time, but let’s cut that time way down, starting now. The more you move in natural ways throughout your day, the better your body and mind will work.
- A daily walk can make a big difference. Walking is one of the best things you can do for your body. You are built to walk. Take a walk around the block or through the park, or go on a hike. If the weather is cold or wet, you could walk indoors, through a mall, the grocery store, or a museum. Meet a friend for a walk instead of coffee or lunch (or bring your coffee along). You don’t have to walk fast. Move your body and encourage circulation at a level that feels doable for you. Pets offer a good opportunity for walking. Walk your dog, or if you’re a cat person, try walking your cat. Go on a bike ride or take a spin class. Play an active game with kids. Join a sports team or take lessons in tennis, or another sport you’ve always wanted to learn. Train for a charity walk, a 5K, or any other competitive activity. You don’t have to be an athlete—there are events like these for most fitness levels.
Start with squatting
When we wake-up we are always stiff. How about bringing some length to our entire body with only one posture?
One of the essential life postures which humans especially in Western cultures seem to have forgotten is the deep squat. It has so many benefits, you should read about it.
Try starting your day by sitting in a deep squat for 10 minutes. ￼Every joint in our body has synovial fluid in it. This is the oil in our body that provides nutrition to the cartilage. Two things are required to produce that fluid: movement and compression. If a joint doesn’t go through its full range—if the hips and knees never go past 90 degrees—the body says ‘I’m not being used’ and starts to degenerate and stops the production of synovial fluid.
Move while working
A very good example of moving while working from the @naturallifestyleist. Keep it simple and at your level of comfort.