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Research Finds Ways to Counteract Effects of Sitting

By Sandy Schroeder

Sitting has become the bad guy, nudging out smoking for the top spot in today’s health news. A leading researcher recently found sitting to be three times worse for the heart than smoking. Research continues to look for ways to counteract these effects as many of us sit, or alternate sitting with standing, to get the work done.

Positive Signs from Finland

No matter how much exercise you get, you are lowering your risk of premature death, according to a recent Finnish study. Another University of Jyvaskyla study found cutting sitting time by 21 minutes per day is enough to create a health boost. Those participants had lower fasting blood sugar, stronger leg muscles and improved cardiovascular health.

Mayo Clinic Looks at Sitting

Mayo Clinic said any extended sitting, at a desk, behind a wheel or in front of a screen can be harmful.

Research from 13 studies on sitting found people who sat for more than 8 hours a day with no physical activity had a risk of dying similar to that of obesity and smoking.  However, this study of more than 1 million people also found 50 to 75 minutes of moderately intense physical activity countered the sitting effects.

More Ways to Counteract Sitting

Mayo Clinic suggested more tips to keep moving.

Bring fitness gear to work - If you have a spot, bring an exercise mat. Keep resistance bands and small weights in your desk to do arm curls between tasks.

Create active lunches - Organize lunchtime exercise or walking groups. There is nothing like peer pressure to keep everyone involved and moving.

Organize walking meetings - Take the meeting outside if possible and add brainstorming sessions if they are well received.

Walk or bike to work - If that’s not feasible, park at the back of the parking lot and take the stairs instead of the elevator.

Take fitness breaks - Morning and afternoon breaks can be used for stretching exercises or short walks instead of lounging and grazing.

Move as much as possible - Install a high counter to encourage standing and working or talking with others. Stand while you are on the phone and take short walks for each hour that you sit.

Exercise when you travel - Walk while you wait for flights and exercise between conference meetings. Use hotel treadmills or bring a yoga mat and resistance bands with you.

If these tips work, keep looking for more ways to counteract the effects of sitting.

To learn more about your health, wellness, and fitness, see your local chiropractor at The Joint Chiropractic in Schaumburg, Ill.

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