The average person sits for nine hours a day, much of it at a desk job. During the winter months, when the days are shorter, exercising or working outside gets difficult and it’s tougher to crawl out of bed to work out, many of us desk-jobbers are even more sedentary. This can lead to an ever-expanding midsection which is tied to insulin resistance, elevated levels of triglycerides, low levels of HDL cholesterol, high blood pressure, diabetes, and heart disease. A few preventative measures can help counteract your sitting time.
1. Hydrate – everything in your body works better when properly hydrated. All the receptors in the cell membranes (which are the means of command and the control message system) function more efficiently, proteins and enzymes are more efficient, oxygen is delivered better to the cells, nutrients are properly transported, body temperature is regulated, toxins and waste are more easily removed, the immune system is strengthened, as well as bones, joints, and organs are better cushioned. Don’t divert water intake with the consumption of too much coffee, soda, tea, milk, juice, alcohol, etc. These upset our water balance even though they consist mostly of water. They are diuretics and can actually cause the body to excrete more water than the drink contains. Try and sip your water throughout the day; most people can only metabolize about 1/2 cup of water every half hour. No need to take in the water if it’s not going to get used.
2. Walk Around / even if you find time for an hour-long workout in, it’s not enough to offset all the chair time. When you sit too long, your body stops producing lipo-protein lipase, an enzyme that essentially vacuums fat out of your bloodstream. Making small changes to your daily routine will make a difference!
Some examples: set a timer and walk to your glass of water every half hour. Place your trash can on the other side of your cubicle. Walk to talk to a co-worker rather than send an email. Take the stairs. Sneak in a few minutes of walking on your lunch break or before you walk into the building or head home (bring your umbrella and some layers so that weather isn’t an excuse). Instead of a meeting at the conference table, do a group walk-and-talk around the block. Do a lap around the office or building for a break or before hitting the break room for your coffee. Activity has been shown to increase brain power so you’ll also be more focused and creative while improving your health.
3. Stash Snacks / without your own stash it’s easy to be tempted by foods containing added sweeteners which are typically higher in calories and can add extra pounds. Plus they are digested quickly, making you hungry sooner, and more likely to snack again. In a desk drawer have nitrite-free jerky, almonds, trail mix, Lara or Organic bars. If you have access to a refrigerator add turkey breast slices, apples, carrot sticks, grapes, red peppers, hummus, hard boiled eggs, and olive mix. Be sure to stock up on these healthy snacks around the holidays, when those holiday sweets start appearing all over the office. And if it’s your turn to bring a treat, bring in some healthier choices; your colleagues will appreciate it!