At-Desk Fitness: 5 Important Reasons to Start Today

November 24, 2012 · 0 comments

Guest post by Gwen Stewart from outbounding.com:

Do you ever feel trapped in your cubicle or office? Glued to your computer? Like you haven’t actually moved your body much in hours? By doing this, you may be slowly killing your body. Really. It’s time to get up and get movin’  – here’s why:

1) Sitting can make you fat. This is a no-brainer. So, why then, do so many of us sit all day? Not only do we sit on the computer at work for hours on end, but many people also get home from work and continue to sit – most likely at dinner and in front of the TV. Sitting is causing our metabolism to come to a screeching halt. When we’re sitting still, and not shifting our bodies every minute or so, “the fat stays in the arteries, and can be stored in adipose tissue – also known as body fat,” claims Marc Hamilton, PhD, a microbiologist at the Pennington Biomedical Research Center.

Even little movements and shifts in the body can make a big difference. Simply standing and creating other leisurely movements throughout the day help the body to better breakdown fats and sugars. The processes that do this are stalled when we sit – and are kickstarted once we stand and are active, says Dr. Levine, professor of medicine at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn. Breaking up sedentary time with little movements contributes to a healthier body mass index (BMI), waist circumference, and triglycerides, which are a type of fat in fat tissue and in the bloodstream, claims a 2008 study published in DiabetesCare.

2) Your after work workouts aren’t enough to offset the threats of sitting. Even a 30 to 90 minute daily workout outside of the office isn’t enough to reverse the effects of sitting. Hamilton says that the biochemical reactions that slow down while sitting aren’t the same as the ones that are activated by your normal workouts. Dr. Levine agrees, saying that the amount of sitting is the biggest difference between thin and fat people. Surprisingly, it’s not how much they eat or exercise.

3) Your chance of having health concerns increases exponentially. A plethora of research links prolonged sitting with numerous health concerns, including high blood sugar, high blood pressure, excess body fat, obesity, and even a greater risk of death from heart disease and cancer. After evaluating about 70,000 healthy women and their regular habits for 14 years, a study published in 2010 in the American Journal of Epidemiology revealed that women sitting six hours per day had a 37% higher risk of dying when compared to those who spent fewer than three hours a day on their bum. Too much time on the bum kills.

4) Excessive sitting is as bad as smoking! Smoking causes about 5 million deaths worldwide. A recent study shows that inactivity, contributing to serious diseases like breast cancer, diabetes, and heart disease, is the cause for 5.3 million deaths. That means that a sedentary lifestyle is as deadly as smoking!

5) Incorporating activity into your workday is easier than you think. Try getting up from your desk more often, doing calf raises while waiting at the printer, or pacing around your office while you’re on the phone.

Are you convinced yet? Sitting is not good for your health. As this new wave of research shows, you don’t have to be breaking a sweat during your work day to reap healthy benefits. More rigorous workouts are important, of course, but the bottom line is: incorporate more movement into your workday. Just do something.

About the Author:

Gwen Stewart is a marketing guru for clients of Outbounding.com. She works far too many hours, but has made a personal goal of eliminating Sunday from her work week. Her vision for the Fall includes one hour of yoga 4 times each week, homemade soup, saving for retirement, and time off work.

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