Thursday, January 30, 2014

Is sitting the new smoking?

Sitting, the New Smoking

In the year 2014 we keep our kids away from harmful things like cigarette smoke as it's known to cause major health problems leading to lung cancer and death.

I remember a few years ago we used to tell Grandpa that smoking was bad for him, and he would laugh and say, "I've been smoking for 50 years, and I'm still stronger than you".

Of course, when he first began smoking, everyone smoked.  There may have been warning signs that it would eventually lead to cancer and an early death, but it wasn't anything immediate or visible.

He smoked for 50 years and he eventually died from lung cancer.  He could have spent more time with his kids, grandkids, and could have met his great grandkids, but he never got the chance.

Almost all of us have a similar story of a relative who smoked for their entire life knowing that the risks involved, but because it wasn't immediately hurting them, they continue to do it.

Now when the doctor tells them, "you have Emphysema, and if you don't quit your going to die." That's when it hits home, and by then it's usually too late.

Times have changed.  We as parents are teaching our children that smoking is bad because we have all seen the effects.  I believe that our kids will be teach their children that sitting too much is bad because unfortunately they will have seen the effect that sitting had on their parents.

In 2045, instead of saying your dad worked in a factory and smoked all day and now he's paying for it, they'll be saying my dad spent all day at a sitting at his desk and now he's paying for it.

According the American Heart Association, walking 10,000 steps a day can reduce the risk of a heart attack by 90% and the risk of a stroke by 70%.

What can we do?

It's time to get up out of that chair.  Many of us are stuck to the computer like glue all day because we have stay up to date with our email and phone calls.

Get up from your chair when you get a call on your cell phone.  Take a walk as you talk for 15 minutes.  Then you can come back to your chair and sit again.  If you take breaks often, you'll reduce your risks for these diseases and illnesses.

The next level is to get an adjustable height desk that allows you to both sit, and stand at your desk which at least gets your blood flowing a bit more.  Standing naturally keeps your muscles more tense and active than sitting.  There are several ways to get started standing, and some people just simply stack boxes on top of each other to elevate their monitor and be able to stand at their desk.  Unfortunately, those options look unprofessional, so if you need a more polished look, check these sit to stand options.

Finally, the ultimate way to stay in shape, keep active, and get your mind on track while stuck at your desk is to add a treadmill.  You can easily add a walking treadmill or get an entire treadmill desk to add to your current desk.  This treadmill desk option lets you walk and type at the same time.

Whatever option you choose, do something different because 8 hours at a desk plus your commute and time spent on the couch, your probably sitting about 12, out of the 16 hours that you're awake.  It's an alarming amount of time.

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