Is the American dream worth two years of your life?
Consider Robert. He sat in his classes for sixteen years, so he could sit in a nice plush office. Every day he sat in his luxury SUV on his way to and from home, which featured a comfy recliner that housed his hind end for several hours each evening.
Robert lived the American dream, mostly on his rear. And he died a little early for it.
That's a bit dramatic, we know. But there's a real danger you need to know about. A 2012 study by Louisiana State University's Pennington Biomedical Research Center stated that people who spent more than three hours on their kiesters each day were expected to live two years less than their more upright counterparts. Even if your lifestyle is otherwise active, sitting will still take a hefty toll.
Don't worry though, you can still avoid an early exit by making some changes in your lifestyle and workplace. Try these five changes to get your rear in gear and avoid winding up like Robert:
- Stand at Your Desk – A new trend in offices worldwide, standing desks place your monitor at standing eye level, with your mouse near your waist. This helps with circulation, energy and overall better health. Being on your feet all day can take its own toll on your body, so be sure to keep a stool nearby for brief resting periods.
- Run at Your Desk- even better than simply standing is putting yourself in motion. Many workplaces now feature a handful of treadmill desks, which provide the opportunity to stroll or even jog while getting your work done.
- Get Personal – instead of exchanging emails or phone calls with your fellow employees, hop out of your seat and have an old fashioned face-to-face chat with them. You'll get off your tail for a while, and enjoy the benefit of better relationships with your co-workers.
- Take Walk Breaks – Carve out ten minutes of each hour to walk around, stretch your legs, and get some fresh air. Schedule it within your calendar so that others won't be tempted to schedule over this time, and it'll be essentially guaranteed.
- Schedule Couch Time – Just as blocking out time for walks can help shape your behavior, so can scheduling limited couch sitting sessions. By setting aside an hour or so each day, you'll be less tempted to plop down early because you know that time has been set aside. Enjoy it...but not too much!
State and federal laws require varying levels of accomodation for employee heath requests. Don't be afraid to ask your boss or HR department if they'd be willing to arrange a standing desk, regular walking breaks, or anything else that you feel will promote better personal health. Within reason, of course.
How do you avoid the siren call of the seat? Let us know in the comments!