Heather Stephens, WEC’s Loans Manager recently gave me a copy of The Globe and Mail article Can sitting too long really hurt my health? Heather and I are on the Centre’s Health and Wellness Committee and she thought it would provide some much-needed inspiration for the Manitoba Workplaces in Motion grant application I was working on.
I was skeptical. I was sure that the article would end with a promo for a gimmicky product or give advice that is unlikely to be followed; you know the kind that suggests you should keep your garbage can on the other side of the office so you have to get up from your desk every time you have to throw something away. Not only is it a time-waster, it is the kind of practice that never sticks for very long.
My attitude quickly changed. The article talked about recent studies that show that sitting for long periods carries health risks that can’t be erased even if you are exercising at other times of the day. It went on to say that even low intensity muscle contracting can mitigate those risks by increasing the levels of the enzyme lipoprotein lipase which is necessary to convert fat into fuel.
Aside from regular walking and yoga, I spend many hours sitting at my desk. After reading the story, I was motivated to find ways to decrease the damage that results from the type of work I do. Office de-cluttering and plant care, tasks that I was once saw as interruptions, are now welcome health breaks.
But what else can we do to get our muscles moving while at the office? Is the $30 foot-pedal that the author of the article recommends the way to go after all? What are you doing to keep moving? We would welcome your recommendations in the comment section of this blog.