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Sitting is the "NEW" smoking!

The Benefits of Moving More In the workforce a lot of people are struggling with the issue of not getting enough exercise and actually dealing with a lot of sedentary time.  So that’s sitting in the car, sitting at meetings, sitting in their office chair all day long for about ten hours a day. Now one of the things that people struggle with is how do I get enough exercise in my day?  How do I get to the gym?  How do I go for that jog or something like that?  And an important distinction that I’d like to make is between movement and exercise.  Movement is very different than exercise because movement is something that you can scatter throughout the entirety of your day.  A lot of research is showing that prolonged sitting is the new smoking.  And what that means is that it’s associated with all kind of chronic illnesses, diabetes, obesity.  And one of the things that one of the things that we can start to do is to think about disrupting our sedentary time.  And what that’ll enable us to do is to stimulate our muscles, stimulate our nervous systems, stimulate our bone density so that we’re engaging our bodies throughout the day and not just reserving it for an hour outside of our work day. Now what that means is we have to find ways to incorporate movement throughout our day.  Now, that’s not such an easy thing to do given our culture of sitting, of being comfortable in a seated position.  The idea of incorporated movement into your day can have a lot of physical benefits like preventing illness and increasing energy.  But there’s also a lot of psychological benefits as well. Connecting with other people and maybe going for a walking meeting means that you’re shifting out of your sort of set space in your office and looking at your computer screen, and it gives you an opportunity to connect with people and to maybe get some fresh air.  The idea of movement is not just something about the body, but also something for your mental health.  Now, I was working with an HR manager who became a close friend and he talked to me about when his father passed away at a very early age in his mid-50s he had a lot of medications and a lot of things that he was struggling with regarding his health because he put his work first and wasn’t really paying much attention to his health. Now he was really inspired by the idea of movement because it was something simple that he could apply into his day.  In short one-minute or two-minute spurts, he can walk and get some fresh air or do some simple squats or do something very easy that he could incorporate very easily into his day. For a lot of people is not very accessible because you need to go to the gym and you need to travel to go to the gym, and you need to shower.  So it takes a lot of time, but the idea of movement is such more accessible for us because you can just choose to get up at a moment in time and just stand up.  An example of how movement can be so beneficial for say a team is the CEO of a company explained that they were having a really hard time getting past a problem that they were having in a meeting. It is like they were stuck in a certain way of trying to solve this problem.  The CEO of the company said, well, let’s just get up and do a little bit of exercise right now.  Let’s do some jumping jacks and some squats, and then immediately after they had a whole new perspective and they felt lighter and able to face the problem in a new way, and they were able to move through things.  And what she explained to me is, it wasn’t more thinking that they needed to do, but more movement which allowed them to shift their perspective.  And so movement of any kind – it could be standing, fidgeting, going for a walk or doing some simple exercises – can be very beneficial for your physical and your mental health.

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