Friday, July 25, 2014

Sit Less

Sit Less!

We all know that maintaining an active lifestyle is an important part of staying healthy. However, many of us can be “chained” to a desk all day and although we may get in our 30 minutes of moderate physical activity each day, we might not realize that sitting for long periods of time affects our health. In fact, research shows that prolonged television/computer viewing time, particularly more than four hours a day, was associated with higher blood sugar levels, higher blood fat levels, larger waist circumference, and higher risk of metabolic syndrome.

Furthermore, this strong relationship between metabolic health and television/computer viewing time remained significant regardless of how much moderate to vigorous physical activity people did. In other words, even if you’re getting enough moderate physical activity in each day, you may still be at risk of developing these conditions.

Fortunately, the research also showed that people who interrupted their sedentary time more frequently (e.g., got up to get a drink, stood up to answer the phone) were better off in their metabolic health compared to those whose sitting time was mostly uninterrupted.
So, what can you do to reduce your sitting time? Here are a few action tips to get you out of your chair:
  1. Stand up while talking on the phone. Use the speaker phone or talk with your employer about purchasing a head set.

  2. Get up and walk to the water cooler. Drinking more water will make you walk to the washroom more often too!

  3. Instead of sending an email/IM, walk over to your colleague’s desk and speak with them in person. 

  4. When you need time to organize your thoughts, rather than sit and stare at your computer, get up and go for a walk around the office. 

  5. Organize walking meetings with your colleagues instead of sitting around a table. If you can’t walk and talk, maybe walk somewhere else (e.g. café) to sit down and meet. 

  6. Walk to/from work if you can rather than driving or take public transit and get off a couple stops early. 

  7. Each time you finish a task at your desk, get up and celebrate with a short walk around your desk/chair. 

  8. Don’t eat at your desk through breaks. Take a coffee break or lunchtime stroll outside and if the weather is bad, then find a close by mall that you can meander through for 10-15 minutes.
Want more information? Watch the Desk Exercises Webinar on the Stewardship in Seconds page.  Click here to go to the Well U webpage

Source:Clark, B.K., Sugiyama, T., Healy, G.N., Salmon, J., Dunstan, D.W., & Owen, N. (2009). Validity and reliability of measures of television viewing time and other non-occupational sedentary behaviour of adults: A review. Obesity Reviews, 10, 7-16.

Dunstan, D.W., Salmon, J., Owen, N., Armstrong, T., Zimmet, P.Z., Welborn, T.A., et al. (2005). Associations of TV viewing and physical activity with the metabolic syndrome in Australian adults. Diabetologia, 48, 2254-2261.

Healy, G.N., Dunstan, D.W., Salmon, J., Cerin, E., Shaw, J.E., Zimmet, P.Z., et al. (2008). Breaks in sedentary time: Beneficial associations with metabolic risk. Diabetes Care, 31, 661-666.