These five words will change your life: “Sitting is the new smoking.” This simple phrase sums up much of what you and I struggle with today. We sit at our desks typing and interacting with computers. Our bodies were simply not designed to sit for that long. We don’t move as much throughout the day as we need to and we eat sugar-packed foods in hopes of an energy burst. It’s a really destructive downward spiral.
When I picked my kids up from sleep away camp last summer, the owner mentioned this is the first generation of kids that spend most of their time indoors. Indoor play comes with iPads, iPods, video games and computers. For adults, our eight hour work days have become 10 and 12 hour days. We are finding less and less time to live the healthy lifestyle that our bodies require. Even if we make time to get up at 5:00am and go to the gym, that great work is met with a much largely sedentary lifestyle and low energy levels. Physically, people who sit all day develop “Tyrannosaurus Rex” posture, with the head and shoulders shifted forward, arms forward, glutes non-existent and hips and hamstrings tight and sore.
The concept that smoking is bad has been drilled into all of us. If we further associate the act of sitting with that of smoking, look out! We would engage in more yoga classes, Pilates classes, swimming laps, walks around the block and riding bikes with our kids.
At first glance, you might think that not sitting at work would be extremely difficult. Chairs are everywhere-at your desk, in your conference room, in the break room and just about anywhere you want to be.
If you can start to associate sitting down with smoking, you’ll pop out of your chair and get your blood flowing–which is exactly what you need.
As you move, you release endorphins (just like when you exercise) and your energy increases. You feel more alive and that increased feeling of power is brought in everything you do. Your whole attitude changes when you are full of energy and fully engaged. Self-confidence improves when you strengthen muscles that help you stand tall, including your glutes, core, upper back, etc.
Sit less. Do more. Empower others to do the same. I’m signing off by getting out of my chair and asking my kids if they want to play outside!
Sara Talbert, Director of Pilates