In the western world, many if not the majority of the workforce has a sedentary lifestyle. What is meant by sedentary is a person or a lifestyle that results in the individual spending too much time seated, hence somewhat inactive. There are real health and safety risks allocated to this lifestyle, and this article is here to point out what you can do, as a functioning member of the society, to improve your situation and the situation of others.
Evidently, sitting all day is unhealthy but necessary for most of our white collar jobs. Sitting behind the computer and working away is now even an issue for the younger generation and we are entering the digital world, where reality is now distorted and leaves us more interested in spending time in front of a computer, TV screen, video game etc. If you decide to take action, your blood flow is improved, your spine is stretched, your body is better oxygenated, your metabolism is high, your fat stores will be lowered, your muscles will be toned and your organs will be more functional. In short your life expectancy will be lengthened.
Let us examine two situations: At work and at home. Step by step we must understand what can be done in both these instances in order to reduce the amount of time sitting.
At Work: at work it is difficult not to sit all day.
1. Most offices prioritise siting over standing desks because of their costs. But as an employee, you have the right to request adjustable desks, for both sitting and standing. Push your colleagues to make similar requests to management. The health risks are known and evident.
2. It is important to take regular breaks and have a walk around the compound. It is healthy, it gives you more time to think and it distances you from the screen for maybe 15 minutes.
3. Get up to drink water and eat standing if possible. Try to find tall tables to eat standing, this also helps with the digestion.
4. Park your car 500 meters away from your house. Give yourself a good walk in the morning in order to get your body flowing. Do the same at work, it can only be beneficial.
5. Eat healthy and easily digestible food such as raw vegetables and salads. Avoid foods that are heavy to digest such as milk, meat, fish and other animal products.
6. Do not forget to drink plenty of water. This will force you to go for bathroom breaks more often, hence make you move more. A hydrated body also means a hydrated brain, which in turn is more efficient.
At home: After work it is easy to be attracted to the couch, avoid it.
1. Avoid your sofa or your bed at all costs. Go for a walk, go to the gym do everything to move. I highly recommend having a stretching session or yoga.
2. Cook healthy food that takes time to prepare, forcing you stay standing for a longer period of time. Avoid pizzas and fast-food. For one they are very unhealthy, and secondly they do not need any supervision to be prepared. Cook food that is full of vegetables, nuts, seeds, grain etc. and reduce your intake of cholesterol and saturated fat from animal products. This will keep your heart and arteries healthy
3. Install a standing desk in your home. Make it a priority, as you will evidently return to your computer screen at least for an hour before going to bed.
All in all, avoid sitting for too long if you can and attempt to be more active. Request your employer to install adjustable desks for the sake of your health and the one of your colleagues.