Do You Sit for More than 3 Hours a Day?
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Most of us spend a large portion of the day in a seated position. We sit on the way to work, we sit at work, then when we come home we sit some more.
On average, we sit for 5 hours a day. One study published in the BMJ found that by reducing the overall time spent sitting to less than 3 hours per day adds on average 2 years to life expectancy. Another study, published in Diabetologia, analysed 18 studies that included a total of 800,000 people. It found that people who sat for the longest periods of time were twice as likely to have diabetes or heart disease when compared to those who sat the least – with an overall greater mortality risk from any disease.
Many of us try to make up for this by making sure that we have at least a few bouts of moderate to vigorous exercise per week. But that isn’t enough. It seems that even for peo
The problem with sitting is that the hips, spine, pelvis, and stomach take a lot of weight, and they adapt to this condition. Our back, rear, and legs learn that their role is that of a squishy cushion rather than a support structure; and our metabolisms adapt.ple who meet the current recommendation of 30 minutes of physical activity on most days of the week, sitting for long stretches is an independent risk factor.
So what’s the solution?
Don’t worry - the solution doesn’t require you to quit your job, sell your car, or trade your sofa for a treadmill.
While you are sitting, sit towards the front of your chair and try to keep your chest in front of your chin.
Make sure that you stand up frequently throughout the day, walk and stretch the body appropriately – remembering to breathe deeply to expand the torso. Aim to do this at least every 20-30 minutes. There’s a number of specific stretches and movements I can advise.
Choose to take the physical option whenever you can. So go for a walk in your lunch break. Take the stairs instead of the lift. Hide your TV controller. Clean your car rather than taking it to the car wash. Find whatever opportunities you can to get up and move around.
Finally, make sure that the exercise sessions you are engaging in are serving you as they should.
Many personal trainers and fitness advisors distinguish “exercise” from “stretching”, and work toward the primary goal of improving fitness as measured by muscular strength and cardiovascular fitness. Stretching too often becomes a gesture or an afterthought.
In order to create more meaningful fitness, particularly in a time when we are largely sedentary, it’s essential to take a more integrated approach that includes flexibility and balance as primary foci. Particular attention must be given to the flexibility and strength of all the muscles attached to and around the pelvis; and also to the posterior chain. If your programme does not fulfil this, not only are you missing out but you are putting yourself at risk of injury. Even more so if you are training regularly, hard, or with weights.
This is why the personalised training programmes I write from ReShape have flexibility, muscle activation, core, and balance work all built in to each workout. Each workout is designed to develop all aspects of fitness, to give you meaningful results that last, to develop a functional fitness that you will enjoy daily, and to help protect you from injury and degeneration.
If you would like to discuss any of this or find out how Joe Summerfield can help you feel your best contact him either via the email firstname.lastname@example.org or by telephone on 07917 234177 between 9am and 8pm.
Article written by Joe Summerfield