We all do it. I mean I am doing it right now as I write this into the blog portal. We sit down. I saw a programme recently with some alarming statistics about sedentary behaviours and sitting down so thought I had better write about it.
Our sitting down journey
- We spend 8 hours asleep in bed
- Our morning routine which involves eating breakfast sitting at a table or on the couch
- Travelling to work we sit in the car, on the bus or on the train
- We arrive at our desks and you guessed it, we sit down
- At lunch we walk to the cafeteria, corner shop or supermarket to get lunch and arrive back at work to sit down
- In the afternoon we continue to sit at our desks
- Again we sit down to travel home
- We make dinner standing but eat it sitting down
- In the evening we watch television, check our emails on our phones or play games on the computer, all sitting down
- Then it is bedtime again
There you go, our sitting down journey for the day. We spend a fair proportion of our day sat down.
It may not apply to everyone
Now I admit that this does not apply to everyone. My job is very much standing based and Rosie’s job is also very active. Yes Rosie travels a fair bit for work but all in all it is active. Saying that in the morning or the evening we may also go to the gym or take in a gym class therefore we stop sitting down (for a bit).
The bad news
There is some bad news about sitting down. Firstly it does us no good sitting down for long periods of time. There are several other reasons why it is bad too.
- It can increase our risk of heart disease, diabetes, stroke, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, dementia, some cancers, DVT (deep vein thrombosis) and varicose veins
- Your glutes (big muscles in your bum) are not firing sitting down and your lower back is at risk of damage (be it muscle, ligament or discs)
- Your posture could change into a bad position (usually with your shoulders rounded and the nice curve in your back coming out of alignment)
- Weight gain and anxiety could creep up as well
Having had a slipped disc two years ago I can safely say that this is something you do not want. I was in agony for weeks and it took months of rehab to get better from it. Now my slipped disc wasn’t caused by sitting down I am just demonstrating the potential damage it can do.
The good news
Now for the good news, you can fix it. You! By taking little steps to counteract sitting you could reverse some of the bad points listed above. Below are a few things you can change:
- Stand on the bus or train (hold on)
- Take stairs or walk escalators
- Move around every 30 minutes (if you manager has an issue with this then please direct them to 2 Spuds who will be happy to point out why you are moving around)
- Stand whilst on the phone and walk around to your colleagues desk rather than phone/email them
- Set a pedometer to get your steps target everyday
- Try doing some different activities rather than sitting and watching television/playing on the computer
- Go to the gym for a postural analysis and back strengthening exercises
- As the summer months rolls in you can start going for walks in the evening
I say get active. Start small and aim big. Start by walking up 2 flights of stairs and then progress to 10. When going to the supermarket park your car at the other end of the car park and walk to the store. Try getting up in advert breaks on the television and move around.
Get active! Move around more! Stop sitting down! Look after your body!
Ps. The programme I was watching is called “Easy Ways to Live Well” and you can find it on BBC iPlayer.