Sit at a Desk All Day? Get Up and Move!

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Research has shown that sitting too much can be hazardous to your health. Tom and Dian Griesel, the co-authors of TurboCharged, a rapid fat-loss and wellness book due out in March, warn about the dangers of sitting too much. So, listen up sedentary people!

“All of these studies point out that sitting is a form of inactivity, which has many adverse effects on our physiology,” says Tom. “During prolonged sitting, one’s whole body just slows down. Our bodies are not designed for inactivity but for complex, whole-body movement. According to Elin E. Bak, researcher for the Swedish School of Sport and Health Sciences, ‘Lack of whole-body muscular movement [is] strongly associated with obesity, abnormal glucose metabolism, diabetes, metabolic syndrome, cardiovascular disease risk and cancer.’” Scary!

And even if you work out, you are still at risk! “If you sit all day, even if you find time to exercise 40 to 60 minutes four to six days per week, you are still a couch potato and at risk,” adds Dian. “Studies are showing that the effects of sitting are independent of exercise, and might even counter some of exercise’s beneficial effects.”

But, the good news is that some type of movement, every 20-40 minutes, even for as little as one minute, can remedy the negative effects of prolonged sitting. In TurboCharged, the Griesels offer simple tips to increase your activity level, even if you have a desk job. Here are some ways they suggest fitting movement into your work day:

1) Take the stairs instead of the elevator.

2) Stand up as often as possible, such as when talking on the telephone. How about walking into your co-workers office to tell them something, instead of calling them on the intercom?

3) Do simple exercises, even for one-minute intervals: squats, lunges, desk or wall push-ups, and standing heel lifts.

4) Take short walks during scheduled breaks and lunch. Ask coworkers to join you.

Suggestions for chair exercises:

1) Lift your legs straight in front of you, flex them and hold steady for as long as you can. Release and repeat.

2) Lift your legs straight out in front of you and cross them like a scissors alternating them top and bottom. Do as many as you can.

3) Lift your arms in front of you or to your sides, and pulse them up and down as quickly as possible for up to 1 minute.

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