Tuesday: Health and Fitness
If you’re like me, you watched the Oscars this weekend. All 10 hours of it. You sat on your ass, probably eating some kind of awesome “Oscars snack,” and oohed and aahed over the pretty people. If you’re like me, you probably also sit on your ass at work – all day long. Maybe you even eat lunch at your desk, sitting there like a lump and barely moving save for the odd twitch in your back as your muscles slowly, fiber by fiber, give out on you.
Oh, but you go to the gym, you say? You do spin class three times a week? You go to yoga every Sunday? Well, congratulations, but even if you work out every day for an hour, guess what—that’s seven hours of movement out of 168 hours in a week – and more and more studies show that no matter how hard you work during your gym hours, they don’t come close to making up for all the damage you do by sitting around all day. Yeah, sitting is killing you. Staying still is killing you. It’s the new cigarettes: it shortens your life, and makes the life you have more uncomfortable, because all that sitting and not moving gives you hunched shoulders, back pain, and generally weak and useless muscles. So here’s a thing: move more. It really isn’t that difficult once you get your head around the fact that it’s normal to move around all day, and very unnatural to sit around like a zombie. So, next time you’re watching a four-hour awards show or sitting down for a particularly soul-sucking day of working at your computer, try these tips:
– Set an alarm for every thirty minutes to remind you to stand up and move around. Walk to the bathroom; go get a drink of water; shake out your body.
– If you are at a computer all day, fashion a standup desk. Stack your computer on a box or a bunch of books so it’s at a comfortable level to both type and view the screen. You’ll be amazed at how much more productive you are when you work while standing – and the fact that you don’t get nearly as tired. And hey, you burn way more calories when you stand than when you sit.
– If you’re at home and no one’s around to make fun of you, do a couple pushups/squats/situps at every commercial. When someone you like wins an award jump up and down and do a happy dance. Just fidget – as long as you aren’t making other people uncomfortable, every bit of movement helps.
– The best, but hardest advice: don’t watch TV for four hours. Don’t sit at a computer all day. Do everything you can to break up the monotony and get outside. Breathe fresh air, look at the sky instead of a screen, walk around, take the stairs. The more you get used to not being lazy, the more normal and refreshing it seems.
This probably took you a few minutes to read – a few minutes you didn’t spend moving, standing, dancing around. So get up, breathe deep, and go outside. Your body will thank you for it.