It’s starting to be said that, “sitting is the new silent killer”. Since the beginning of COVID-19, I’ve been sitting more than ever!
I’m guessing you can relate.
What’s becoming more and more clear is how much sitting is affecting our health. There are the more obvious effects on the spine, neck, shoulders, back, etc. We feel these and try to solve them with ergonomic office furniture, changing positions, taking ibuprofen, or propping ourselves with pillows. That works in the short term, but it doesn’t fix the fact that we’re still sitting.
Now we’re learning that prolonged sitting can affect your heart health, blood sugar balance, vein and artery health, your weight, and might even increase your chance of cancer.
Let’s do our best to keep any of that from happening.
Here are 10 tips for combatting the effects of sitting:
#1: Ergonomic office set-up. Make sure your chair and desk are in the proper alignment for your body. Here’s an example:
#2: Get an adjustable desk. Many desks go up and down so you can sit part of the day and stand part of the day. This will reduce the strain on your muscles and joints and keep blood flow moving. It looks like they have a great selection locally at Sit Stand World in Tigard.
#3: Take the stairs. Every time you have the option, take the stairs and not the elevator. Sometimes you have to look around a little bit to find the stairs entrance, but every building has stairs for fire exiting. Taking the stairs is a great way to get a mini-workout during the day.
#4: Take a walk at lunch. Either before you eat or right after, take a walk around the block. Not only will it combat the effects of sitting, it will also rejuvenate your energy.
#5: Use your FitBit or other tracker to remind you to get up and move. Mine will go off after 50 minutes of no activity, so I don’t have to remember.
#6: Get regular exercise. One of the best ways to combat sitting in general is to have a regular exercise schedule. Try to get 30 minutes of blood-pumping exercise 5 days/week. I know you know how much better you feel when you do this!
#7: Do stretching throughout the day. Check out the book “Top Seven Ways to Combat the Effects of Sitting: The Silent Killer” by my friend, colleague, and former Chiropractor, Dr. Karin Drummond. It’s amazing! She outlines a bunch of stretches and how to do them. (I showed you how to do a few of them on my Wellness Wednesdays Facebook Live this week.)
#8: Get regular massage. I know this seems like a luxury for some of us, but it’s really an important part of keeping your body healthy. Massage will move your blood and lymph and decrease tension in the muscles. I’ve had some amazing massages from Kamila at Equillibria Wellness.
#9: Drink the recommended 8 glasses of water every day. Be sure to subtract anything with caffeine or alcohol from the total. Dehydration makes muscle and joint pain worse and also makes you grumpy.
#10: Eat the rainbow. Eat at least one fruit or vegetable of every color every day. Colored fruits and vegetables increase antioxidants (to avoid toxic stress) and decrease inflammation.
If you’re not sure how sitting might be affecting you on the inside, consider a New Client Consultation with me, Jen Owen, N.P., here at my Portland, Oregon Integrative Medicine clinic. I offer many specialty labs that will look at your blood glucose and cholesterol levels in more depth than traditional labs, check inflammatory markers, assess your cortisol levels to determine stress, and more….
Do you have other ideas? I’d love to hear them in the comments below.
Please share widely with your friends and family who also find themselves sitting too much.