Do You Sit Over 5 Hours? Must Read This!Jul 29, 2023
Modern life is ironic:
On one hand, it’s more convenient than ever.
The average person today has more comfort than a king had 1000 years ago:
You can work from your computer.
You can order food, without leaving your house.
You don’t have to worry about dangerous animals or shelter.
But the same comfort creates hardships, caused by our sedentary lifestyle:
A 2012 study found that adults aged 18 to 65 spent over 50% of their waking hours sitting.
That's 7-9 hours - daily!
And you know it’s bad when your back aches and your neck tightens up after working at your desk for hours non stop.
People say “sitting is the new smoking” - and I agree.
Longterm, excessive sitting contributes to:
- Chronic pain
- Type 2 diabetes
- Cardiovascular diseases
You have to counter these effects to stay healthy in our modern age.
And while you may think it’s impossible due to your work, there’s much you can do.
We'll cover it all in this newsletter.
Read to learn the 4 pillars to stay pain free, vital and healthy - even if you have just 10 minutes per day.
1) Strength Training
Stretching is the first advice against tight muscles that you get, but not the best.
A tight muscle is a weak muscle - you have to strengthen it.
In my late teens, I struggled with knee, neck and back-pain daily due to excessive sitting.
My whole body would ache after getting up from my chair in the classroom, dragging myself into the bus - just to sit again.
I tried to get rid of the pain by stretching - a lot.
But it didn’t help.
It only improved when a physiotherapist told me to do Squats additionally to stretching.
At first I was hesitant.
But it helped me to strengthen my posture, my lower body, and even my back.
My back and knee pain disappeared within a month.
Strength training works so well because it’s the opposite of sitting:
- It improves your posture
- It makes you more mobile
- It increases your metabolic rate and burns calories
- It strengthens the same muscle that decay while sitting
For example, my client wanted to shed his belly fat and release his neck tensions.
He also craved more energy for gardening after work and improving his tennis play,
Weight training was the key:
- Strengthening his body fixed his posture
- He boost his energy and could garden, without exhaustion
- Stronger shoulders allowed for better tennis play and fewer tensions
- Additional muscle burns calories, allowing him to shed fat without dieting
If you’re not convinced yet, consider that strength is the key to staying mobile, active and able to perform throughout your entire life:
If you’re older than 30 and inactive, you’ll lose 3-5% of muscle mass - per decade.
At 70 years old, this can add up to 50% of lost muscle mass.
Look at this picture:
Image source: https://www.researchgate.net
It shows the leg of a 40 and 74 year old triathlete compared with a 74 year old sedentary man.
The white part in the middle is the bone, the gray area is muscle.
You can see that the sedentary person has less bone density and muscle mass.
This puts him one fall away from the nursery home.
Luckily, you don’t have to become a triathlete to do prevent that:
Strength training is the easiest way to being able to enjoy life to the fullest with your grandkids.
If you want to learn the best workout to do so in less than 2 hours per week, read THIS article.
2) Mobility work
Strength and mobility are the perfect combination to improve your quality of life.
It kept me pain-free for almost ten years now (despite long hours of sitting) - and it can do the same for you.
Here are five of my favorite exercises you can do in less than 3 minutes:
These are perfect to mobilize your shoulders and your neck.
You can do them at any wall (or door), which makes them perfect for short breaks between work.
Make sure to keep your entire backside on the wall.
Rotate your wrist towards the wall as much as you can and move them over your head.
This exercise helps you to mobilize your hamstrings.
They get tight from long hours of sitting, which can impact your posture and lead to back pain.
Lean forward, grab your shins as low as you can, and take small steps back and forward.
Feel the tightness of your legs release.
Banded neck stretch:
This is my favorite stretch against neck and shoulder tension.
Grab one end of a resistance band and put one foot on the other.
Now, gently move your head to the side or rotate, until you find a tight spot.
Stretch into it slightly, and if you can, move your shoulder up and down.
The reason why this works so well is because you don't just stretch, but also strengthen your shoulders
The perfect exercise to mobilize your entire back.
Lie flat on your back and extend your arms to the side.
Put your hand on one knee and gently pull it to the other side of your body.
This is a great stretch to mobilize your Hipflexors.
They tend to tighten up through prolonged sitting, which can cause back pain and poor posture.
Rest your rear leg on a couch, bed or bench.
Gently squeeze your abs and lean forward.
To make it more intense, raise your arms and pull one of your arms to the side.
Don’t push into pain with these exercises!
They can feel strenuous, but in a way it’s not painful to you.
Do some of these daily.
Humans evolved to be active, not sedentary.
Our ancestors clocked an impressive 20000 steps - per day!
The average office worker gets less than 3000.
Walks keep you mobile and prevent your legs from getting weak.
They improve your posture, help with back pain, and are even proven to prolong your life.
But not only your health, but your business will improve as well:
You'll feel more energized, and mentally clear after a walk and it's a great way to reduce stress.
Short walks between long blocks of work boost your creativity productivity for the next hours to come.
If you have virtual meetings and calls, consider taking them on walks!
All you need is a phone with good video quality and a headset that can cancel out surrounding noise.
I go for several walks per day:
- A short one in the morning
- Short walks between working blocks
- A longer one around noon
- One in the evening
If you’re not in the habit yet, start with one 15-minute walk per day.
They can change your life.
4) Work standing
The easiest way to reduce sitting is to work standing.
And while you may think that standing worsens your focus, it’s not true:
Research shows that changing your working position provides flow state!
You’ll get two birds with one stone:
- You sit less and improve your health
- You work better
I divide my work into 2-hour blocks:
One hour sitting, another standing.
Then I go for quick walks or do some of the mobility exercises mentioned above.
If standing for that long causes you back pain, get a motion board.
It keeps your muscles active and prevents your lower back from tightening up.
Excessive sitting is a major threat to your health.
Luckily, you don't have to go back to caveman days to avert it.
Stick to these four pillars:
- Strength training
- Standing work
And you’ll be more productive and in better shape than 80% of office workers.
If you want to learn an individualized, specific game plan to do just that, click the link to hop on a free 1:1 call with me.
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