Stand up for yourself
The best drummers can get a nice work out while sitting, but that isn’t you, my friend! Not if you even approach typical human behavior.
U.S. citizens ages 12-85 are sedentary for the majority of each day according to statistics. It doesn’t matter if that is spent sitting in front of a computer in your job, or sitting in front of your TV when you’re not working. You even sit in your car (or on transit) to get to and from your job.
The less you move, the less likely you are to move and the more weight you gain. This lack of motion means you are at high risk for diabetes, heart disease, and metabolic syndrome. Sorry ladies, but you are a small but consistent amount less-active than men across all age ranges until the retirement years.
Dr. Gupta calls excessive sitting the “New Smoking”, and the results are just as treacherous. Cancer aside, we can become wheezy, uncomfortable, low-energy, and get COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disorder), especially, though not exclusively, if we smoke. In addition, you could develop a painful and potentially fatal blood clot called a deep vein thrombosis (DVT), Gupta warns.
When you don’t move, you burn less fat, your blood flows sluggishly, and blood fats have a chance to settle in arteries (especially the heart) and clog up the works. Atherosclerosis begins where the lining of blood vessels becomes inflamed, irregular, and when cholesterol deposits form, decreasing blood flow. The least active among us have twice the likelihood to develop cardiovascular disease.
You become resistant to insulin, too, which means adult onset diabetes. If that isn’t enough motivation, you become more susceptible to endometrial, breast, and colon cancer, which scientists are investigating as a consequence of too much insulin.
Poor sitting posture is just as bad as failing to stand. Your abdominal muscles, being completely relaxed, aren’t called upon to keep you erect, and your back muscles are constantly stretched. This combination exaggerates the natural curve of the spine giving you swayback (like a very old horse), properly called lumbar hyperlordosis.
Leg muscles atrophy when we sit too much. Our hip muscles weaken and we end up taking much smaller steps (reducing our activity further). Our glutes get flabby and we don’t have the strength to push-off to establish a good starting pace. We get s-l-o-w-e-r…
Worse yet, we get varicose veins because the blood pools in our legs when the heart is beating too slowly to move it efficiently. You might simply get swollen ankles, if you’re lucky.
The less we move, the more calcium and phosphorus the body gives up. Our bones soften, and we get osteoporosis. The current epidemic in our elderly population is attributable to more sitting and less walking.
The New Normal: 20-8-2
Instead, we can sit for 20 minutes in relative safety provided we stand for 8 minutes as well (adjustable standing/sitting desks are excellent for this purpose so we can carry on working). But then we must follow it up with 2 minutes of walking. Go to the bathroom; get a coffee; do a few circuits of the office. Get your blood flowing!
Research shows that the faster you habitually walk the longer you live. Walking is an inherently difficult process for the body and we all have “preferred” walking speeds that accommodate all the different systems required. If you are a “fast-walker” (more than 0.8 metres/sec) you have a much greater life expectancy than a “slow walker” says Stephanie Studenski, from University of Pittsburgh's Division of Geriatric Medicine, after studying 34,485 adults.
Can’t stand standing? Consider an all-in-one desk bike pro. It suits the elderly for playing cards, sorting stamps/coins, reading a magazine, or other activities; it suits the office worker because it can switch from standing desk to bike in just seconds; it suits the student or gamer for their activities, too. Best of all, its small footprint means you can quickly push it aside, when you need extra space.
Too much for your office? You can get an under-desk bike that is not much different in appearance than an office chair, but permits a light workout all day long. It won’t make you sweaty, and it won’t distract you from your tasks, because it is utterly silent when in operation.
Walk more; walk faster; stay active; and mostly, don’t let your circumstances dictate your health. You have options, and we would be delighted to help you make a decision that will extend your life and keep you healthier. One of the most important is remembering 20-8-2 every time you sit. It could save your life!