Sedentary work. Sedentary lifestyle. Sitting disease.
As humans, we aren’t meant to have a sedentary lifestyle, but somehow we have managed to make that something we are REALLY
good great at.
The effects of watching TV (regular consumption) and a sedentary work environment have a huge impact on your precious time here on Earth. They can actually shorten your life!
Did you know that if you took control of your lifestyle and work environment, the likelihood of you dying prematurely decreases.
So lets take charge of those two things and make sure you live a full, long, healthy life! OK 🙂
Sedentary Work Leads to a Shorter Lifespan
Did you know that sitting all day at work is about as bad as smoking cigarettes….in regards to your lifespan.
It can shave about 8 years off of it!!!
So here is the solution: get a standing desk.They are pretty great, and because you can move between standing and sitting, you are helping improve your health and extending your life! Standing will activate large muscles that burn more calories. The movement of the muscles contracting as you stand will also support movement of the lymph and keep you healthier. You may also find that you reduce blood sugar and insulin when you use a standing desk throughout the day.1,2
When using a standing desk, alternate with sitting for best results. Standing all day is not great for your back or legs. And do remember your posture! Sitting in an ergonomic position is just as important as alternating between sitting and standing.
If you can’t get yourself a sitting desk, then get up from your desk regularly. Plan to get up say every 50 minutes and take a 10 minute walk/stroll around the office.
This will make your sedentary work environment a lot more healthy!
Additionally, take a 30 minute walk after lunch.
GOAL #1: To avoid sitting disease, alternate being active with sitting at work. You can do this with a standing desk, getting up and moving around every 50 minutes, and walking after lunch or as a mid-day break. Do this every day!
Side Effects of Watching TV
What research has found is that 3-4 hours of TV a day is the tipping point for those who go on to develop a chronic disease.
The effects of watching TV for 3.5 hours a day increases your risk of: cancer, heart disease, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, diabetes, influenza/pneumonia, Parkinson’s, liver disease, and suicide. Let’s set it straight, this study was retrospective, so they followed people for 16 years who at the onset had no chronic disease, measured their TV consumption as well as the development of their health/disease condition (where applicable).3
This study showed correlation, not causation. More people who watch more TV are more likely to develop a chronic disease. Maybe sitting disease 😉 All kidding aside, that really is considered a disease of our modern lifestyle. Our sedentary lifestyle!
What was cool though about the research is that they controlled for factors such as calorie consumption, alcohol consumption, and cigarette use. This means that there is an independent correlation between the variable of watching TV and you developing a chronic condition. Why is that great? Cause you can change it!
Here is the not great part: even if you were active, you were still negatively impacted by the amount of TV you watched daily. So don’t think just because you are active you can still sit your life away!
Roughly 80% of Americans spend more than 3 hours a day watching TV!! Is this you? Are you developing sitting disease?
GOAL #2: Reduce your consumption of TV….. on a daily basis!
But I need TV…..It’s how I relax
Sure, we all need to wind down from our day. There are so many other ways to wind down at the end of the day though that don’t require 3+ hours of TV.
Did you just come from a sedentary work environment? If so, the last thing you want is TV time as your downtime. The effects of watching TV coupled with a sedentary work environment are a double negative….
What you need is appropriate downtime (see below).
But let’s play a fun game first! This is the “do you really want to look back on your life and say, oh I am so glad I watched that show” game.
Say you watch 2 hours of TV a day, which by the way is LESS THAN the average American. That is 14 hours a week, approximately 60 hours a month, and 730 hours a year of time you just let drift away.
If you watch the average 3.5 hours a day, that is 1278 hours!!
How about I propose this: watching TV is a big fat waste of your precious time.
Are you really letting your life pass you by in the form of drama TV and reality shows sprinkled with grim news, day in and day out? (No wonder people are stressed out, overweight, have high blood pressure and more.)
Sitting on your rump or lying down, watching TV, completely consumed by a sedentary lifestyle.
Are you spending over half of your free time comatose to the Television?
FREE TIME. Time you can’t ever get back by the way…..
Then I hear people complain, there just isn’t enough time…..
Have you checked how many hours a day you spend sitting in front of the TV?
Look, the only thing you have in life is time. Time is your most valuable gift, and so if you aren’t spending it fruitfully, then you need to give your lifestyle a thorough examination.
If you’re watching hours of TV a night, that is a lot of wasted time. Yup I said it. You are wasting your precious time, which you cannot make more of…..you can make more money, but my friend, you cannot make more time.
How to wind down at the end of the day to prevent sitting disease
GOAL #3: Instead of watching 2, 3, 4 hours of TV a day, why not fill your life with some more enjoyable things that won’t have a negative impact on your health:
- Exercise: while I don’t recommend moderate to high intensity cardiovascular exercise at night, I do recommend you make sure you are getting at least 30 minutes of exercise a day. After dinner you can go for a 30 minute walk to wind down for the day and improve your digestion. Nighttime, moderate to high intensity exercise, is not recommended as it will cause a spike in cortisol when it should be low. This is why a walk after dinner can be really beneficial. It is low to moderate exercise that won’t get your cortisol going.
- Read a book. Heck, if you have an extra 1278 hours in a year, write a book!
- Take a hot bath or hot shower. Additionally you can throw some Epsom salts in the bath (2-4 cups) which will relax those muscles from standing at your standing desk at work!
- Journal (free flow writing)
- Listen to a guided visualization
- Go to bed. So many people stay up to see the 11 o’clock news. Is there really anything you need to see before you go to bed? All the dread and horror you are going to be exposed to can wait until the morning. Hey, you may just find you sleep better without filling your head full of those amazingly negative stories the media is so infatuated with.
- Spend time with beloved family and/or friends, play games and enjoy each other.
- Take some time to make a list of things you would like to accomplish while alive. Start to prioritize them and spend 30-60 minutes each night on them. You will be AMAZED how quickly they come to fruition.
- Most importantly- don’t just plop yourself on the couch for 3.5 hours at the end of the day. Slow down because it is the end of the day, but still engage with life. Read a book, stroll around the house, interact with family/friends, drink a cup of tea, take a hot bath and enjoy your evening in phases rather than 1 big lump on the couch 🙂
And last but not least, you owe it to yourself to live a long, healthy, inspired life. So stop living life through the lens of TV and fantasy families, and make your life the amazing, awe-inspiring journey it should be. You have control over your lifestyle, so make it worthwhile!
Also read here about 10 ways to make your work environment healthier. Spending your entire life indoors is not often that healthy, and I have some great ways to improve it.
Here’s to reclaiming your health,
Alright, now it’s your turn. What are you going to do so you live an inspired life and don’t develop sitting disease?