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Creating Successful Leaders

Incorrect seated posture

You might want to be sitting down for this news…then again, that’s the point! You should NOT spend so much time sitting, according to several new studies that have been released over the past few years. In an article I read last month, Doctor J.A. Levine, an endocrinologist at the Mayo Clinic, stated that, “prolonged sitting is associated with 34 chronic diseases and conditions, including obesity, heart disease, type 2 diabetes, back pain, and depression.”

Wow, that’s a lot of maladies from something that seems harmless! But it all boils down to this: Humans aren’t meant to sit around all day. We aren’t designed to remain stationary for hours upon end. According to the same article I read, after just a few hours in a chair, “changes occur in your cells, slowing your metabolism, stiffening arteries, and increasing insulin resistance.”

And the worst part? Your hour-long workout at the end of the day won’t make up for all the sitting you’ve been doing prior to working out. It’s a cumulative effect and you can’t shake it off with a single bout of exercise.

This all seems like terrible news, right? Fortunately, there are some easy solutions to combat prolonged sitting. Here are a few tips I discovered when I looked into this topic:

  • Take a stroll (This may seem obvious, but it’s easy to forget to move around if you’re busy with work. Make an effort to get up and about every 90 minutes or so)
  • Sit on an exercise ball (This practice is good for your core and helps your muscles move and tense throughout the day, without you hardly noticing. It may take a little getting used to, though!)
  • Drink lots of water (at least 8 glasses a day. This can prevent muscle fatigue and cramping)
  • Take the stairs
  • Use an activity monitor to help you track your motion throughout the day
  • Walk down the hall to visit your co-workers instead of communicating with them via email
  • Ask for a standing desk (many companies are now purchasing standing desks for their employees. Either they will move up and down electrically, so you can sit and stand as you please, OR they are stationary tall desks that come with a tall drafting chair in case you’re inclined to sit).

It is incredibly important to look out for your personal well-being at work. Human beings are breakable machines and we can only be pushed so far. The trick is to NOT get to that breaking point in the first place. With a little effort every day, you can avoid the problems associated with prolonged sitting. Invest in yourself! You’re worth it.

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