What is so bad about sitting?When you sit for extended periods of time your body begins to shut down, calories aren’t burned, good cholesterol levels drop, insulin becomes less effective and muscles weaken. Remember the ‘Use it or lose it’ adage? Well, its true, excess sitting can cause heart disease, diabetes, muscle weakness, nerve damage, a shorter lifespan, and weight gain. Now, you are thinking to yourself … how can I work or drive or even watch TV without sitting? The bad news is you need to change your habits. The good news is it isn’t as hard as you might think. You just need to avoid sitting for longer than 30 minutes at a time.
Use these healthy ways to break the sitting habit.
- Use a timer.When sitting for work or other activities use a timer to get into the habit of moving more often. Set the timer for 30 minutes or less. When the timer goes off stand up, stretch and walk around for at least 5 minutes. This simple exercise helps your body stay functioning.
- Work smarter. If your job requires you to sit for long periods of time try alternating between a standing workstation and your regular desk. You can also try sitting on a blow up exercise ball instead of a chair. You need to maintain balance to sit on the ball. This helps your back and leg muscles strengthen and stay active.
- Change your idea of relaxation. Instead of watching TV go for a walk, practice Tai Chi or Yoga, dance,sing, garden, play with your children and friends. If you must watch TV make sure you follow the 30-minute rule.
- Walk more. Use your feet when you can. Try walking or biking to work. Take the stairs or the long way around. Think of creative ways to walk more. Don’t forget to wear foot friendly shoes too.
- Eat healthily. There is no time like the present to make healthy changes in your diet.
Following these simple suggestions will help both you and your body be healthy and happy. A body in motion stays in motion. 'Ask a Naturopath' about other dietary and lifestyle changes that you can make for better health today.
- Add more fresh fruits, vegetables, whole grains and fish to your diet.
- Reduce your consumption of sugar, white flour, red meat, dairy, and processed foods.
- Keep things simple by eating vegetables raw or lightly steamed.
- Add cashews to your diet. These great tasting nuts are packed with minerals and health promoting antioxidants.
- Avoid excess consumption of coffee, tea and soda. These beverages actually dehydrate your body.
- Remember to drink at least 2 litres of pure water per day.