Health Audit Check - How much do you sit?!
So…. How is everyone doing almost one year into the pandemic?! If you are like me, its starting to get really old. All those home renos and new hobbies we took up with excitement last March are either completed or fallen by the wayside. And here we are, one year on, still pretty much locked down, working from home and a long way from Spring. It takes a toll on the most hardy of us so lets look at some ways we can reset and be kind to ourselves. We know that sitting is bad for us and excessive screen time is not good either. To take these in turn, it has been shown by many research studies that sitting is the new smoking in terms of negative impact on your health. It has been linked to increased risk of heart disease, dementia, Type 2 diabetes, weight gain, anxiety, osteoporosis, as well as certain cancers. While I am sure that pretty much everyone reading this is also active, that doesn’t actually outweigh (or even make up for) excessive sitting – even 7 hours of exercise/week has been demonstrated to NOT counter the impact of sitting 7 hours/day. Research says that if you can sit for less than 3 hours a day, that can add up to 2 extra years to your life. Excessive (more than 3 hours) of recreational screen time has been linked to all kinds of mental health issues as well as increased risk of Alzheimers.
So to start, let's take an audit and see where you are. Over the course of 2-3 days, simply jot down the time every time you sit down and then when you stand up again. Don’t forget to include time in the car and mealtimes, as well as the more obvious desk and couch time. Time sitting on the bike doesn’t count! Also keep track of your recreational screen time. Now set a goal. Can you take an hour or 2 off your sitting, by standing instead? Ideally try to stand every 30 min. Why 30 min? Because after 30 min your metabolism slows up to 90% due to the large muscles in your lower body turning off because you are sitting on them. Can you take your business calls while standing up and walking around your (home) office? Maybe make every 4th break (so every couple of hours) take a 5 minute stretch break. Chronically tight hip flexors? Then how about doing 3 x 30 sec hip flexor stretch each side. This way you kill 2 birds with 1 stone – take a break from sitting AND work towards your goal of stretching more.
Next up, cutting screen time… Now NHL is back, who doesn’t want to watch the game, but what to do when there are still 4 seasons of Greys Anatomy to get through before you are all caught up?! Make conscious decisions of what is important to you that day and what you can do without. Try to cut the social media scrolling a little. Taking small steps to decrease your sitting time and screen time will go a long way to helping out mental health to get us through the rest of this pandemic. As always, TCR is here to help if you are unsure what to do – you can always contact us for one of our free ZOOM consultations. We promise not to count it towards your 3 hrs of screen time. Just be sure you are standing when you do it :-)