Get up from your desk! The secret to living a longer and healthier life is to get up from your desk, get out of your chair, and get off the couch!

I sit for hours at a time. I’m sitting right now. I sit too much for too long. I’m going to change my behavior. The facts are in — sitting at your desk is the new cigarette. It will kill you.

Get Up From Your Desk!

What Prolonged Sitting Does to Your Body

Sitting for extended periods adversely affects nearly every system in the human body. We weren’t designed to sit for hours on end. We were designed for action.

Heart 

Blood flow slows while sitting, making it easier for fatty particles to clog the system.

Brain

Less fresh blood and oxygen are delivered to the brain. This can lead to slowed thinking and, eventually, brain damage.

Lungs

There’s a 54% increase in lung cancer brought on by sitting. “The mechanism isn’t known for certain, but it could be due to excess insulin production, which encourages cell growth, or the fact that regular movement boosts antioxidants in your body that may eliminate potentially cancer-causing free radicals.” — Before It’s News/Health 

Stomach

Sitting compresses food in the digestive track which hinders digestion.

Bone structure and musculature 

Sitting puts a strain on the head, shoulders, and neck. It causes muscle degeneration, leading to a decline in neck and back musculature and creating leg and hip problems.

If you’d like to read more about the physical problems sitting creates, check out this post from WebMD: Why Sitting Too Much Is Bad for Your Health.

Here’s What You Can Do about it

For several years, I’ve believed I was stuck in the office, at my desk, and I could do nothing about it. I was wrong; there’s a lot I and anyone can do.

I needed to change my thinking. It wasn’t that I wasn’t stuck at my desk. It was the screen, but screens can move. First, I looked at the expensive desk riser thingies that lift your computer into a standing position. They look great. I thought maybe someday, when I save up the money. So, I had an inexpensive shelf installed, purchased from a local hardware store. It’s a small black shelf that fits the surroundings and is just the right height for me to stand and work. (I now have one of those desk riser thingies.)

The second thing I had to change was my aversion to breaks. The truth is I’m working on this. I’m not where I need to be—yet. Here are three ways to get the blood flowing and live a healthier, happier life from your desk, chair, or sofa. Exercise opportunities abound even in an office.

Exercise

Take the stairs

Go up and down, every time.

Wall push-ups

I do wall push-ups every morning in the shower and every afternoon in the office. Place your feet a couple of feet back from the wall, stretch your arms to it, and push it. Push it good.

Chair Squats

Easy-peasy. Stand up. Sit back down in your chair. Repeat. There are plenty of more examples of workplace exercises. Check it out, deskercise.

Stretch 

Every day, I do shoulder stretches and what I call my jogging stretches, which include thigh stretching and placing one foot at a time on an elevation one to two stairs high and stretching my calves. Here are several “work” able stretches from the Mayo Clinic. Adult Health: Stretches 

Yoga 

This intrigued me. When I researched the topic, I found I was already doing Yoga, such as the seated backbend, where one extends their arms toward the ceiling and stretches upward. Here are several easy-to-do yoga positions for the office from the Huffington Post. Office Yoga Poses

Are You Ready to Get Out of Your Chair? 

The better question may be, how long do you want to live a healthy life? You can improve your health and well-being by taking a few minutes out of your day to exercise, stretch, and do a little yoga. Exercise is good for the body and soul. What type of exercise do you do at your workspace?

Photo by Crew on Unsplash