Sitting Too Much? Five Ways to Beat the Seat.
I’m going to go out on a limb here when I suggest that anyone reading this blog spends a good deal of time sitting down. Recent studies have talked about the dangers of sitting. According to a study from Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, every additional hour adults over age 60 spend sitting increases by 50% their risk of being disabled for activities of daily living such as bathing, dressing and walking. All of us know the benefits of exercise. The American Heart Association is recommending walking 10,000 steps a day. Many companies are encouraging their workers to get on board by offering deals for Fitbits to measure their steps. 10,000 steps is really another way of looking at the Surgeon General’s recommendation to get 30 minutes of activity a day. However you do it, especially if you have a sedentary job, getting enough exercise is critical to your health.
Here are five tips to help you get the exercise you need:
1. Get a Fitbit. This tiny device allows you to download your data and compare your exercise levels with your friends. It is surprisingly motivating. When I look down at my Fitbit and see I have only walked 3000 steps, I am immediately motivated to move my number.
2. Remember Jazzercise? The new craze seems to be Zumba. With its Latin rhythms and sensational moves, a Zumba class will not only elevate your heart rate for a good, hard hour, it will be a blast.
3. Get a dog and walk it. Research has supported a connection between owning a dog and reduced risk of cardiovascular problems, including high blood pressure and elevated cholesterol levels. For me, walking the dog is not optional. When I see the look in my poodle’s eyes, I can’t say no. So, grab man’s best friend and take a walk.
4. High Intensity Training–This is a great option for those of us short on time. Studies show that short bursts of high intensity activity can be as beneficial as longer workouts. One model is to do three four-minute blasts of high intensity exercise such as jumping jacks, spinning on a bike, then rest one minute, then repeat two more times to equal twelve minutes. That’s just 12 minutes a day to meet your exercise quota.
5. Climb the Stairs. Just 7 minutes stair climbing a day has been estimated to more than half the risk of a heart attack over 10 years. Stair climbing builds muscles, cardiovascular health and endurance. If you work in an office building, take a break at least every 90 minutes and climb a few flights of stairs. This is another way to incorporate high intensity training in your day. A short burst of stair climbing will increase your heart rate and metabolism for another 90 minutes.
Since I’ve walked the dog, and I’m only at 4830 steps, it’s time for me to get on the bike.
Let me know how you do.