Anti-aging at Work
In my great-grandparents’ day, lots of people worked on farms and in manufacturing jobs. For most Americans, “going to work” a lot of moving – and often hard physical labor.
Today, though, we’re a technological society… and that’s bad news for those who hope to live a long, active life. Because most jobs today involve a lot more sitting than in the past.
A brand-new study has put a number on the damage all that sitting does. And, as the saying goes, it ain’t pretty.
The study, published in the Mayo Clinic Procedings, used data from 2,223 volunteers. The authors measured the volunteers’ physical activity. They also calculated the volunteers’ fitness levels using a treadmill test.
What they found was that two hours of sitting is the “fitness opposite” of 20 minutes of exercise. In other words, sitting for two hours does as much harm as 20 minutes of exercise does good.
But they also found that any activity was better than being sedentary. You don’t have to go out and jog ten minutes of every hour to keep from falling apart. But you should move – and move regularly.1
Since so many of us – including myself – are often stuck at our desks, here are a few of my favorite “desk exercises.” You should be able to do these in a standard-sized cubicle or office.
Desk push-ups – Place your palms on the edge of your desk, arms out straight, with your body at a 45° to the floor. Lower your upper body towards the desk till your chest nearly touches your hands. Straighten your arms again to raise your body back to your starting position.
Squats – Start by standing with your feet shoulder-width apart. Slowly bend your knees and lower your rear end towards your heels. At the same time, gently lift your arms slowly out straight in front of you, palms down. Lower yourself only as far as you feel comfortable. Slowly stand again, lowering your arms at the same time.
Calf raises – These are great to slip in any time you’re standing. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and arms at your sides. Rock your weight forward onto the balls of your feet and raise your body up onto your toes. Hold for a moment and lower your heels back to the floor.
Tricep dips – You need a sturdy chair with arms and no wheels for this one. Sit forward in your chair with your legs straight, so that your heels make contact with the floor. Grip the chair’s arms with your hands placed under your shoulders. Lift your body with your arms till your rear end is off the seat. Hold this position for a couple of seconds, then slowly lower yourself to back a seated position.
Leg lifts – Sit up straight, with your back against the back of your chair and your feet together. Slowly straighten your legs till they’re parallel with the floor. Hold for a few seconds and lower your feet back to the floor.
Aim to do 5 – 15 of each exercise at least 3 times a day. It’s not the same as a brisk workout at the gym. But could make a big difference in helping you stay in shape.
To make your time at the office even healthier, walk. When you need a bathroom break, use a restroom on the next floor up or down – and take the stairs. And when the weather is good, walk during your breaks and for at least half of your lunch period.
This may sound like a lot, but it really isn’t when it’s spread out over the entire day. And over the course of a typical year, that’s 250 extra hours of healthy activity.
Yours in continued good health,
Best Life Herbals Wellness Team
Source: Kulinski, J.P., et al, “Association Between Cardiorespiratory Fitness and Accelerometer-Derived Physical Activity and Sedentary Time in the General Population,” Mayo Clinic Procedings. Jul 7, 2014; http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.mayocp.2014.04.019.
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