Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Get Away From That Desk!

Here is the latest Get Fit email from Dr. Jacobs.

Moving Around Can Improve Your Health

We’re living in a society where the opportunity, need, or desire to move has diminished. In fact, many people, consciously or unconsciously, desire to move as little as possible, evidenced by drive-thru restaurants, home deliveries, online banking, remote parking, etc.

The computer and TV have been our greatest allies and our greatest enemies. While the computer promotes efficiency for work-related tasks, it also promotes inactivity and low levels of energy expenditure. The TV became the family’s center of social entertainment in the mid-1950s, but since then it has bombarded people into watching hours and hours of mindless shows at very low energy expenditure levels.

We’re spending a lot of our time in front of a computer or TV, and our health is suffering as a result.

Today, we’re starting to learn about how bad things have really become. In a recent paper by Owen, et al. (July 2010 Exercise and Sport Sciences Reviews), researchers found that prolonged sitting (which usually occurs in front of a TV set, computer or in transit) leads to substantially greater health risks than had been previously reported. Here are some of the key findings:

• TV viewing (i.e., sedentary behavior) is linked to obesity, diabetes, impaired glucose uptake, and insulin resistance, all of which lead to higher medical costs and poorer quality of life;

• Energy expenditure studies indicate that in adults, on average, 60% of waking hours are spent being sedentary;

• Individuals who are more active throughout the day and sit less are better off than individuals who exercise once per day and spend the rest of the day doing sedentary activities.

The researchers also came upon another interesting finding: too much sitting or sedentary behavior is a strong predictor of disease, and exercising 30 minutes a day (as recommended in our national guidelines) may not protect you from chronic health problems. They recommend additional public health guidelines that target reductions in sitting time in addition to promoting regular physical activity.

The new findings by Owen, et al., raise an important question regarding the health of people with physical disabilities. What are the implications of their findings for individuals who use power and manual wheelchairs and spend all or most of the day sitting? The likely answer is that sedentary behavior may be an even greater health threat, given the lower rate of daily, sporadic activity, and suggests that we need new and creative ways to generate more movement (not necessarily exercise) among people with disabilities spread across the day.

A primary goal of rehabilitation programs is to restore or maintain a person’s ability to be as independent as possible. Improved physical fitness through increased physical activity has been shown to be important for health maintenance and disease prevention. Now is a good time for rehabilitation professionals and health care providers to emphasize not only regular physical activity, but also encourage more movement throughout the day at very low intensity levels. Shifting body weight while sitting in a wheelchair (also good for pressure relief), fidgeting (tapping, moving head, arms, etc.), gestures, etc., provide a cumulative health benefit that, when added to regular fitness-related activity, will lower the risk of chronic diseases. While the results are still emerging, the data seem clear: We all have to learn to get away from the TV or computer every hour on the hour and as often as possible. Our health depends on it!


Diana said...

I love the computer "Chair"! What a great idea. I think since reading this though, I am going to sign out for now and go clean! Great post!
Love Di ♥

Angela Marie said...

I love the chair too! I'm fighting the battle of the bulge and look forward to finding encouragement here :0)

Living a Changed Life said...

Diana - That's a great idea!

Angela Marie - Thanks! I hope that you are encouraged. I would more about your weight loss journey.

-J.Darling said...

That picture really said it all for me! I am fortune enough to live within a mile and 1/2 of very store I need to visit, and a few recreational ones too. Since I work from home, it's not uncommon for me to take a prolonged lunch break and walk to the store (which turns into 3 miles round trip, 1/2 of that with a pack of groceries on my back). I also try to use by bike at least once a week on weekends.

But that yoga ball chair?! Why didn't I think of that! I'd MUCH rather up my ab game than sit in my lousy computer chair while I work! I'm so adding that to my "to get" list! :)

I'm featuring this blog on my weekly review blog!

Living a Changed Life said...

J. Darling - I wish we lived closer enough to stores that we could walk. Texas is so spread out that it is hard to find an apartment in that kind of area. I hope this works on for you! Thanks!

Anonymous said...

I have a desk chair like yours. Great post. We live close to out stores, and to our favorites places to eat at.

I find myself getting stuck at my pc alot specially when I should be out training.

Living a Changed Life said...

Raeplace - Thanks!!


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