The secret to living a longer and healthier life is…

Get up from your desk! Get out of your chair! And Get off the couch! 

I sit for hours at a time. I’m sitting right now. I sit too much for too long. I’m going to change my behavior. The facts are in; sitting at your desk is the new cigarette. It will kill you.

What prolonged sitting does to your body

Sitting for extended periods adversely affects nearly every system in the human body. We weren’t designed to sit for hours on end. We were designed for action.

Heart – Blood flow is slowed while sitting making it easier for fatty particles to clog the system.

Brain –Less fresh blood and oxygen are delivered to the brain. This can lead to slowed thinking and eventually brain damage.

Lungs – There’s a 54% increase in lung cancer brought on by sitting. “The mechanism isn’t known for certain, but it could be due to excess insulin production, which encourages cell growth, or the fact that regular movement boosts antioxidants in your body that may eliminate potentially cancer-causing free radicals.” — Before It’s News/Health

Stomach – Digestion is hindered as food is compressed.

Bone structure and musculature – Sitting puts a strain on the head, shoulders, and neck. It causes muscle degeneration that leads to a decline in neck and back musculature and can create leg and hip problems.

If you’d like to read more about the physical problems sitting creates check out this post from Dr. Mercola Here’s what sitting too long does to your body.

Here’s what you can do about it

For several years, I’ve allowed myself to believe I’m stuck in the office, at my desk, and there’s nothing I can do about it.  I was wrong; there’s a lot I and anyone can do.

First, I need to change my thinking. I’m not stuck at my desk. I’m stuck at a screen, but screens can move. I looked at the expensive desk riser thingies that lift your computer into a standing position. They look great. I may get one someday when I save up the money. In the meantime, I had an inexpensive shelf, purchased from a local hardware store, installed. It’s a small black shelf that fits the surroundings and is just the right height for me to stand and work.

The second thing I had to change was my aversion to breaks. The truth is I’m working on this. I’m not where I need to be—yet. Here are three ways to get the blood flowing and live a healthier happier life from your desk. Exercise opportunities abound in an office.

Exercise

Take the stairs, up and down, every time. At TKO, we have the most demanding set of stairs—ever. I’m serious; try them. My theory is they’re an odd size.

Wall push-ups. I do these every morning in the shower and every afternoon in the office. Place your feet a couple of feet back from the wall, stretch your arms to it and push it. Push it good.

Chair Squats – Easy-peasy. Stand up. Sit back down in your chair. Repeat.

There are plenty of more examples of workplace exercises. Just google deskercise.

Stretch

Every day I do shoulder stretches, and what I call my jogging stretches, which include thigh stretching and placing one foot at a time on an elevation one to two stairs high and stretching my calves. Here are several “work” able stretches from the Mayo Clinic. Adult Health: Stretches

Yoga

This intrigued me. When I researched the topic, I found I was already doing Yoga, such as the seated backbend where one extends their arms toward the ceiling and stretches upward. Here are several easy to do yoga positions for the office from the Huffington Post. Office Yoga Poses

How long do you want to live?

The better question may be how long do you want to live a healthy lifestyle? By taking a few minutes out of your day to exercise, stretch, and do a little yoga you can improve your health and well-being. Exercise is good for the body and soul. What type of workout do you “work out” at your workspace?