Tag Archives: desk job

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

Questions, brainstorming, demos……..Shira@BestInCorporatehealth.com

 

Chief Health Enthusiast – Best In Corporate Health

  • Shira is regularly consulted by Naturopaths, oncologists, health coaches on cancer exercise and exercise adherence.
  • Has assembled over 20 health and fitness professionals with varying specialties to bring to corporate wellness programs
  • Platforms include: Speaking, One-one/group health coaching, Retreats, Course development for in house delivery, Metrics to measure success available, Partners always included
  • Now offering live interactive webinars, just as if each participant has a personal health coach – making corporate wellness programs affordable to all.
  • Shira has been interviewed & published in hundreds of resources over the last 15 years:

Articles featured in:  European Registry of Exercise Professionals, The National Post, Investment Executive Magazine, Directory of Greater Toronto, Canadian Leukemia & Lymphoma Association, Prostate Cancer Canada, Multiple Sclerosis Society of Canada, Anytime Fitness, Today’s Black Woman, Today’s Seniors, Medical Fitness Network, FORCE (Facing Our Risk of Cancer Empowered), Willow (Breast & Hereditary Cancer Support),Myeloma Canada, Cancer Exercise Training Institute, Urban Poling for Breast Cancer, ROW – Recovery on Water for Breast Cancer, Sirius XM Doctor Radio


Frailty – A Leading Cause of Death and Disease

Frailty…The Need for Muscle Nurturance

Frailty, sadly because usually so unnecessary, is a leading cause of death. Frailty is usually referred to as a comorbidity…but if we start looking at it as a cause of disease and death, maybe prevention of frailty will explicitly be addressed and valued just as prevention of heart disease, cancer, obesity, diabetes and all of our other chronic illnesses.

The first answer that comes to mind when asked the #1 cause of death is always cancer, heart disease, some kind of chronic illness.

I am asking you to dig a little deeper understanding frailty as a cause of disease and death.

What leads to a number of the causes of cancer and heart disease……..If we focus on prevention of frailty, how many other illnesses could we prevent?

We have to connect dots here.  Remember, according to the CDC 80% of chronic illness is lifestyle – not genetic.

A 2014 study by the Japanese Geriatric Society concluded:

“Frailty is strongly associated with higher mortality, especially among women. Among men, the association was explained by baseline functional capacity, comorbidity and lifestyle factors. Changes in frailty status should also be taken into consideration when planning geriatric care, as such changes could indicate a more rapid decline in health.”

Prevention of Frailty Best In Corporate HealthWe all know what frailty looks like and have an idea of what it is – but from a systemic perspective, frailty is a consequence of cumulative decline in multiple physiological systems over a lifespan.

According to Johns Hopkins, frailty increases the risk of infections, illnesses that have to be treated in the hospital, falls and  disabilities, doubles the risk of surgical complications, lengthens hospital stays, and increases the odds of leaving forfeiting independence (moving to a nursing home or assisted-living facility) after a surgical procedure twentyfold.

So then, the next logical step is to ask ourselves, what caused the multiple physiological systems to break down. Please don’t say “old age”.

The brain, endocrine system, immune system and skeletal muscle are intrinsically inter-Frailty - workplace wellness programsrelated and are currently the organ systems best studied in the development of frailty. While frailty is most often associated with the elderly, some old people never get frail. Experts now regard it as a medical syndrome.

Diagnosing frailty:

  • unintentional weight loss (10 or more pounds within the past year, muscle loss)
  • muscle loss and weakness
  • a feeling of fatigue
  • slow walking speed
  • low levels of physical activity

Imagine if we lived in a world where people nurtured their muscle mass as much as they nurtured other aspects of their life: finances, cars, wardrobes……

Muscle is the ultimate example in life of use it or lose it.  At the ripe old age of 30 we start losing muscle mass if it is not worked…age related loss of muscle is called sarcopenia. However, many studies prove to us, and many people I personally know, we can build muscles at any age. People over 90 can build muscle.

Muscles deserve far more respect than they receive. For that reason, in every wellness program I include what I call “muscle nurturance”. Muscles are to be cherished through

  • food choices
  • exercise (yes we can destroy muscle tissue with incorrect exercise or overtraining)
  • Getting quality sleep
  • alcohol control
  • smoking – stop
  • certain medications

The misconceptions, lack of appreciation for our muscles is rampant, causing an avalanche of psychological and  physiological demise. Just naming a few consequences of muscle loss, and yes, please excuse my brevity here!

  • Our metabolism:  muscle  burns more calories — even at rest — than body fat. Average: 10 pounds of muscle  burns 50 calories in a day spent at rest, while 10 pounds of fat would burn 20 calories
  • Imperative for diabetes control: Muscle pulls sugar out of the blood to be used as fuel, lowering blood glucose levels.
  • For each 10% increase in the ratio of muscle mass to total body weight, there is an 11% reduction in insulin resistance and a 12% reduction in prediabetes. Prediabetes is a condition in which a person’s blood sugar is higher than normal, but not high enough to be diabetes. Ultimately, our muscles can help prevent diabetes.
  • Glucose control is imperative in prevention of all of our chronic diseases, including cancer and obesity
  • Control of oxidative stress
  • Uncontrolled blood glucose levels can cause us to make poor food choices
  • Lowering sugar intake, muscles will burn fat as a source of fuel
  • Strength training muscle does not have to be in a gym – it can be done in home or office, even with a desk job
  • There are numerous forms of activity that build muscle, not just weight liftingBest In Corporate Health Corporate Health Programs
  • Numerous studies prove strength training is critical in prevention and recovery from depression. Studies from Harvard & Duke concurred depressed people who follow a structured strength training protocol were able to overcome depression without medication, and for every 50 minutes of exercise per week the rate of depression decreased by half. This has been attributed to many physiological mechanisms triggered by strength training.
  • Strength training provides better quality sleep, and quality sleep is vital for muscle mass
  • Our lymphatic system (immune) is dependent on our pumping muscles to move the lymph throughout the body
  • Our heart is a muscle that needs to be trained, through exercise
  • strength training strengthens bones as well – drastic reduction in osteoporosis
  • studies from numerous institutions concur our focus and productivity our greatly improved with strength training and a higher lean mass ratio. This is attributed again to many benefits including glucose metabolism and hormonal balance, reduction of stress responses…….
  • Hundreds of studies on strength training and physiologically reducing stress
  • Muscles are one of our greatest regulators of hormonal balance…..this itself has hundreds of health benefits….
  • Of course the obvious: our physical strength, mobility…all dependent on muscle
  • Musculoskeletal injuries and depression cost millions in workplace absenteeism. Muscle work has a very strong role in the prevention and recovery of both
  • Alcohol can destroy muscle mass, in a number of ways
  • Harvard School of Public Health study: followed 10,500 US men aged over 40 for 12 years and found that of all the activities they did, weight training for 20 minutes three times a week had the greatest effect on preventing age-related abdominal fat.
  • Strong muscles help us breathe, oxygenate our body.

frailty - muscle nurturance in corporate health

Muscle is far more than looking good. Going for walks is great – however, it does not replace muscle work. Muscle training is often called the “new running for the over 40s.

Frailty occurs with loss of muscle. When we look at this partial list, no wonder frailty is associated with cumulative decline of physiological & psychological systems, and death. Our muscles are front and center to every aspect of our health and wellness.

Corporate Health Programs – What an Incredible Way to Make the World A Healthier Happier Place…..so we make them affordable to EVERYONE……

Chief Health Enthusiast – Best In Corporate Health

Shira Litwack, Corporate Program Designer
Shira Litwack – The Corporate Happy Place medical fitness professional, Cancer Exercise Specialist , Medical Exercise Specialist, Holistic Nutritionist

Employee Wellness Toronto, Ontario – But offered worldwide!

  • Shira is regularly consulted by Naturopaths, oncologists, health coaches on cancer exercise and exercise adherence.
  • Has assembled over 20 health and fitness professionals with varying specialties to bring to corporate wellness programs
  • Platforms include: Speaking, One-one/group health coaching, Retreats, Course development for in house delivery, Metrics to measure success available, Partners always included
  • Now offering live interactive webinars, just as if each participant has a personal health coach – making corporate wellness programs affordable to all.
  • Shira has been interviewed & published in hundreds of resources over the last 12 years:

Articles featured in: ezines, ArticlesInk, European Registry of Exercise Professionals, The National Post, Investment Executive Magazine, Directory of Greater Toronto, Canadian Leukemia & Lymphoma Association, Prostate Cancer Canada, Multiple Sclerosis Society of Canada, Anytime Fitness, Today’s Black Woman, Today’s Seniors, Medical Fitness Network, FORCE (Facing Our Risk of Cancer Empowered), Willow (Breast & Hereditary Cancer Support),Myeloma Canada, Cancer Exercise Training Institute, Urban Poling for Breast Cancer, ROW – Recovery on Water for Breast Cancer, Sirius XM Doctor Radio