How to Take Action to Undo Sitting All Day
By: Amber George
Anybody else get tired of sitting? I mean, there are literally times where I’ve been standing and someone is like “Oh please, have a seat and make yourself comfortable,” when I am actually comfy standing, because I’ve either been on video chat with clients, running my business from behind a computer screen, or sitting with my boy reading.
Here's the Deal:
I’m a weirdo and I absolutely love to move my body. Whether it be weightlifting, running, walking, chasing my son around the yard, swimming, hiking, yoga… You name it, I love to move my body.
I can absolutely tell when I have not moved my body enough and I have been sitting WAY too long. Like. WAY too long.
So, what happens when we sit all day? How can we undo sitting damage? Well, in actuality, our muscles and joints can get stiff, our metabolism and heart rate slows down, and this in turn can make us sleepy and cause our cognitive responses to slow as well. Which, on occasion, for proper rest, this is perfectly fine! However, when it is done on a day in day out basis without focused movement (that is outside your workout routine) it can really take a toll on your body.
Let’s look at some ways that we can undo the effects of sitting all day, shall we?
1. Get Out of Your Seat
Okay, the number one way to undo sitting all day is to, well, stop sitting all day! I know, I know, you work for a living and sitting is part of the deal, right? Never fear. First thing, if you’re working in an office with cubicles, check your desk to see if you have one of those desks that can be converted into a standing desk. When I worked in corporate America several years ago, I had one of those desks that I could crank up to a standing position and I’d kick off my heels and stand there barefoot and get my work done.
IT WAS BRILLIANT IN HELPING GET THE BLOOD FLOWING AND GETTING MY BRAIN REFRESHED.
Now, if you don’t work in an office with those types of desks or you work at home and your desk is the normal sitting desk, that’s fine. This is where getting up and walking around for a few minutes is going to be vital. As I’m sure you can guess, I work at home 95% of the time and that includes creating client programs and working with clients virtually as well as all the other things that go into running a business. The other 5% I’m in the gym with my few face-to-face clients because I’m mainly a virtual coach.
This means a lot of sitting! So, I will get up every hour and walk around my house or even step outside and walk to the end of my street and back, which typically means dragging a red wagon with an active little boy behind me! These movements refresh my brain, gets my body moving, and shakes out the stiffness of sitting.
And guess what? This is not just something I have found that works for me. There’s a science to back up what I’m saying! According to researchers at New Mexico Highlands University found the following:
“Researchers at New Mexico Highlands University (NMHU) found that the foot’s impact during walking sends pressure waves through the arteries that significantly modify and can increase the supply of blood to the brain." Science Daily – Source
Point of the story? Get up during the day and move! Even if you have to set a timer to remind yourself; it doesn’t have to be very long. It’s not like you’re going to be stealing time from your employer. 5 minutes of movement to get your blood flowing again and improve your productivity is all you need!
2. Foam Rolling and Stretches
Second is going to be stretching. Now, this wouldn’t be done on your office floor, unless you just work at that kind of office. The biggest stretches that you’re going to want to do are different types of hamstring stretches, glute stretches, and even foam rolling. Foam rolling has some major benefits such as keeping DOMS at bay (Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness), improving flexibility, etc.
I have my favorite foam rolling exercises that are nice and gentle and perfect for undoing sitting during the day, which can be found by subscribing to my blog.
While we kind of touched on this in point one, this one is more pointed to specifically take longer walks to undo that sitting. And, before you get all huffy and say that I’m just making it too hard, just relax a minute and allow me to say, that these longer walks are not something that you’d have to do every day. Just something to do a few times per week to get some steps in. Since these walks are going to be longer than the five minutes we talked about earlier; here’s what I’d do: pick 3 times a week that you can go walk around your neighborhood. That’s it! 15-30 minutes, tops.
If you enjoy running, which a lot of my readers do since I’m a running coach, your runs could be used in place of these walks, however, it’ll be vital to stretch after the run because the foot strike of a run is much harsher than the foot strike of a normal walk. I think we got that point. Let’s move on!
4. Lots of Water
Lastly, let’s talk about drinking plenty of water. And, allow me to say, that I am the world’s worst about drinking plenty of water. Sometimes, I literally have to set an alarm on my phone every few hours and go drink 8 ounces of water at a time. Yep, it’s a true story.
Our bodies are over half water and when we don’t replenish that water, we get dehydrated. Which, I know that’s shocking. But, it’s true! (Someone please sense my sarcasm!) Sarcasm aside, water is going to be very important to keep the muscles lubricated and to help what we’re trying to accomplish here, which is to undo sitting damage from those all day sitting spells.
HERE ARE SOME OPTIONS TO MAKE SURE THAT YOU GET ENOUGH WATER:
The first one that works super well for me is to set an alarm on your phone to stop what you’re doing and drink 8 ounces of water every 2 hours.
The second one is to get a fancy-dancy cup that you would like to drink out of for the day and tick off how many of those you drink throughout the day.
Third, there are these cups that you can get that give you a goal of water to drink for the day, and there are marks on the cup telling you where you should be drinking wise by a certain time. You can get these on Amazon. They’re not expensive and they give you goals!
THESE POINTS SEEM PRETTY STRAIGHT FORWARD DON’T THEY?
Of course they do. It’s because healthy living isn’t as difficult as it’s made out to be. Can it be difficult? Absolutely. Just like everything else in this life. But, it’s not impossible and it can be done.
THESE POINTS THAT I’VE GIVEN YOU ARE LOGICAL AND BACKED BY SCIENCE.
Here’s what I tell my clients… The basics ALWAYS win out. There are so many fancy fitness diets and exercises and pills and powders that promise this or that… But, even those (if they work) will always go back to the scientific basics of fitness.
WHICH IS WHAT I HAVE SHOWED YOU HERE! SOME BASIC AND SIMPLE STEPS FOR ANOTHER STEP IN YOUR HEALTHY LIFESTYLE JOURNEY.
If you’ve been around for a minute, you’ll know that yes, I do challenges that are shorter amounts of time, but what I really preach is learning habits that can be sustainable, instead of trying to do this massive life change all at once. Because, when we do these huge massive life changes all at once, we tend to get overwhelmed and think we can’t do it when in actuality we can! It’s all about the small steps every day. These small steps each day lead to big results. Stick with me and I’ll take the guesswork out of your fitness and healthy living.
About the Author
Amber George is the founder, certified trainer, and coach at Amber George Fitness and Lifestyle®. Amber has made it her mission to remove the guesswork for fitness and healthy living by empowering overwhelmed mothers with quality coaching services and common sense education through her website: coachambergeorge.com Coach Amber’s website is packed with over 200 blog posts on fitness, healthy eating, and how to stop being obsessed with the scale.