I served Jury Duty on Monday and Tuesday this week. I realize it’s my civic duty, but with the Gilt City launch and October being one of the busiest months of the year for me, the timing couldn’t have been worse (is the timing ever good?). I proved to be a bad juror and was excused with a slip of paper freeing me for 6 years. Whew.
Even though I spent my lunch hour at the gym, sitting for 7 hours two days in a row took it’s toll. I experienced tightness in my neck and low back, my butt felt absolutely enormous and my overall state of mind was moody, anxious and stressed: the world was passing me by. It got me thinking: the average American worker sits for 8 hours or more per day. Even if they exercise for 45 minutes five times per week, does that offset this sedentary behavior?
The answer, according to Mark Hamilton, PhD, a physiologist and professor at the Pennington Biomedical Research Center, in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, is to perform more “nonexercise activity”, i.e. spend more time on your feet and out of your chair. “The cure for too much sitting isn’t more exercise. Exercise is good, of course, but the average person could never do enough to counteract the effect of hours and hours of chair time.”
“Your body adapts to what you do most often,” says Bill Hartman, P.T., C.S.C.S., a Men’s Health advisor and physical therapist in Indianapolis, Indiana. “So if you sit in a chair all day, you’ll essentially become better adapted to sitting in a chair.” The trouble is, that makes you less adept at standing, walking, running, and jumping, all of which a truly healthy human should be able to do with proficiency. “Older folks have a harder time moving around than younger people do,” says Hartman. “That’s not simply because of age; it’s because what you do consistently from day to day manifests itself over time, for both good and bad.”
My advice? Stand up. Walk around. Stretch throughout the day. Take your conference call on a walk. Set a reminder alarm every hour and walk (the long way) to the water fountain. Turn off the TV in the evenings and take up a team sport. Stop competing for the closest parking spot. Move more.
Remember, every bit of activity counts!