Physical Activity While Sitting

Physical Activity While sitting – Preventing Chronic Disease

Physical activity while sitting…. Make it a habit.

Physical activity while sitting Preventing chronic diseaseGiven the CDC release of yet another study concluding the omnipotent role of physical activity in our lives,   a brief list for the desk bound. Physical activity does not have to be in a gym.  Even when confined to the deadly potential of sitting, physical activity while sitting is a habit to nurture.

Physically active = Work the muscles + elevate the heart rate (from physical activity not stress)

A brief summation from the CDC Preventing Chronic Disease Percentage of Deaths Associated With Inadequate Physical Activity in the United States

“Current physical activity guidelines recommend that adults participate weekly in at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity equivalent aerobic physical activity to achieve substantial health benefits. Conclusions:

A significant portion of deaths was attributed to inadequate levels of physical activity. Increasing adults’ physical activity levels to meet current guidelines is likely one way to reduce the risk of premature death in the United States”

Yes, sitting is the new smoking.  Sitting is a reality of our computer dependant  lives, so let’s evolve to:

  1. Walk hourly, as much as possible
  2. Get physical activity while sitting

One of the more profound experiences of my life was about 10 years ago sitting in a hospital room wth my uncle, as he was in a coma. He stroked out during angioplasty, unblocking the arteries of the heart, and lay in a coma for many months afterwards. My uncle, albeit a brilliant man in many ways, a Queen’s Counsel, he thought our beliefs in a healthy diet and exercise were “rubbish”.  While he was in the coma, physical therapists came around every hour to work his muscles for him – not just to stop bed rash, but to work his muscles to pump. It is just that important.

Current stats show us most North Americans are are sitting an average of 13 hours a day and sleeping an average of 8 hours resulting in a sedentary lifestyle of around 21 hours a day……..

Do you have a desk job, spend a great deal of time driving, in front of the television, computer, dining table…….Experts say, for those with a desk job,  we should start standing up at work for at least two hours a day — and work our way toward four. 

One of the best investments I ever made was my work station bike. I can peddle away while I am working. There is a wide variety of work station exercise  equipment. Check around for the best deals. Certainly a great investment in your health, energy, focus  and productivity! A great investment for employers, work stations get employees happy, healthy & productive (oxygenating the brain), and very appreciative. 

Another great investment is a heart monitor or a wearable device that monitors activity and heart rate at a minimum. Please don’t believe the calories burned in most of the devices out there. Again, we want to elevate heart rate from movement and using that precious muscle mass. 

A few ideas for physical activity while sitting:
  • Keep resistance bands at your desk. Use them
  • Dance in your seat – who cares if anyone is watching – hopefully it’s contagious
  • Tennis ball squeeze – raise your arm in the air and squeeze, Squeeze between the knees….
  • Feet on the ground: step in place push hard into the floor
  • Pump arms, pump legs, torso twist…..
  • Great time to do Kegel exercises  – improve urinary control & your sex life. 50-100 reps
  • “No turkey neck” exercises – counteract always having head down to computer
  • Stretch the neck  gently, carefully, release stress and deep breathe
  • Get up and walk at least 3 minutes per hour
  • Drink water so vital to your health and make you go to the bathroom more often
  • I keep a Pilates wheel at my desk
  • Isometric contractions – push against a static force, such as the floor and breathe deep. Push hands against each other Not recommended for those with high blood pressure. 
  • Many telephone calls can be done while standing
Physical activity while sitting
Pilates wheel/circle

There is an endless list here. 

And while watching television?

Don’t just watch DWTS, Dance with the stars. Don’t just lay down on the sofa, do leg lifts, bridges…..core work……. Choose your fav TV show – and make that an exercise time, even from your sofa. 

Life combo: Our heart speeds ⇒  raising heart rate to pump extra food and oxygen to those beautiful muscles. Breathing speeds up to get more oxygen and to get rid of more carbon dioxide.  The more muscles we work together, the better the physical activity.

Aerobic exercise to increase blood flow to the brain. Aerobic exercise can raise our cardiovascular function and, thereby, also increase blood flow to the brain. Further, it is very helpful for oxygenating the body, which will improve the health of brain cells and tissue connections

And a BTW here, if you think you have “no energy”, “no time”, “no strength”, “too sore” for any of these – chances are very high that you are not getting enough physical activity. The more you do it, the more you want it. Physical activity while sitting can be invigorating, the more you do it the more you want it, the more physical activity you will crave.

Rest Is Rust, Motion is Lotion!


Physical Activity while sitting at the office? – Ask us – let us get your employees happy, healthy & productive.

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Shira Litwack, BSc, Corporate Wellness specialist, Cancer Exercise Specialist , Medical Exercise Specialist, Holistic Nutritionist

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