How much do you sit on a typical day? If you drive to work, remain at your desk, drive home, eat dinner and then watch TV, you’re likely sitting for more hours than you’re sleeping.
In today’s culture of always remaining available for clients or colleagues, eating lunch at our desks, clicking through emails rather than meeting face-to-face, grabbing take-out on the way home, and binge-watching television shows, sitting is a hard habit to break; and while it’s comfortable and easy, it’s not healthy for our bones, hearts, or mind.
Remaining sedentary for extended periods of time, day after day, has led to the phrase that “sitting is the new smoking.” Doctors believe that our average of 9.3 hours per day – three hours over the recommendation – places our health in as much jeopardy as smoking a pack of cigarettes every day, potentially taking years off one’s life. Plus, it doubles the risk of obesity and cardiovascular disease. However, most of us are not in the position to quit our jobs.
Committing to health in the New Year means renewing our resolve to work hard to excel; but also renewing our resolve to get healthy, lose weight, and relieve stress. Can we achieve both buckets by “sitting less and moving more”? Absolutely. Here are some ideas to get you started:
• Recline when you can. Sitting at 135 degrees places less strain on your back than hunching forward.
• Seize every opportunity to walk around the office, to a meeting, or to your car. Use the stairs instead of the elevator. Choose a parking spot that’s far away, on purpose.
• When you need to connect with a colleague, walk to their office or cubicle rather than firing off an email. If you eat lunch at your desk, spend your allotted lunch break on a quick walk. It will recharge your batteries and sustain your productivity during the dreaded afternoon slump.
• Channel the metrics and goal-setting that drive your job performance into tracking your activity, sleep, and food choices. Wearable mobile-health (mHealth) devices such as Fitbits and Jawbones make it easy to pinpoint your successes, address your weaknesses, and see how even small actions build into big changes.
• Encourage your office to invest in standing desks or treadmill desks (as Google has). There’s mounting evidence that standing up while thinking boosts performance, because a “standing” brain stores and processes information differently. One study of students with standing desks shows their test scores rose by 20 percent.
Standing and moving more can co-exist with, and even enhance, productivity on the job. The same values that propelled us to create a new brand of business advising also inspire us to find new, innovative ways to excel at work and at life, knowing that personal health remains the foundation of professional success. For more new approaches in 2018, visit TYSLLP.com.