Did you know that sitting at a desk all day long actually decreases your ability to concentrate and increases your risk of cancer?
Yet another study has shown that even regular exercising cannot mitigate the negative effects of stilling still for hours at a time. Inactivity can actually make us more anxious and depressed. Slumping at a desk can cause internal organs to slide into the wrong places.
What can help? Standing up at least once an hour and moving around. Getting up and stretching, not just standing still, has all kinds of incredible muscular and mental benefits. But movement of any kind is good; even fidgeting in our chairs. Sitting up straight and holding in our stomachs the way our mothers taught us, swinging arms and legs can also increase blood flow. The remedies are common sense and easy. They are spelled out in The Toll of Sitting All Day in the Wall St. Journal, along with a much longer list of sitting’s harmful effects.
That article was augmented yesterday in Jason Gray’s humorously sardonic article Sports Sitting Will Kill Us All confirming that sports fans, who have elevated sitting to an art form, are playing a dangerous game.
In an effort to make our lives more comfortable, and jobs/work easier, we are doing damage to our bodies. There are millions of examples: mall security personnel now ride around on segways rather than walking, taking fold-up chairs to sit and watch our kids sports games instead of standing or pacing, riding in elevators and escalators instead of walking up the stairs, and circling the parking lot twice to find the closest space to the entrance, even if we are going to the gym to work out!
Didn’t anyone watch the movie WALL-E?
Everyone, regardless of age, health or fitness would benefit from moving around more. It is the cornerstone of Michelle Obama’s LET’S MOVE! program. There is a full press push to get kids off the couch and out into the yard. If we won’t move for our own benefit, we should at least move, and teach our kids to move more, for theirs.
It is not too late for anyone to start, including senior citizens. Many studies have shown the immediate cognitive and physical benefits of mild exercise to nursing home patients. Even adding 10 minutes a day of walking or stretching has proven health benefits.
So don’t take the elevator – find the stairs. You will definitely see me in the stairwell!
© Jane F. Collen