We should all have some kind of understanding by now that physical activity helps reduce the incidence of cardiovascular disease in men and women. Leading a sedentary lifestyle is not healthy, and aside from putting you at risk for heart disease, sitting still all day can lead to other undesirable issues such as weight gain, stiff muscles, poor posture and low back pain. Many people heed this warning and hit the gym after work, but according to a new study, they are missing the point entirely.
In a study published in the European Heart Journal, physical activity was monitored in over 29,000 people in 52 countries both at work and during leisure time. Those who participated in light or moderate activity at work had up to 22% lower risk of heart disease compared with those whose jobs involve sitting at a desk in front of a computer.
Weekend fitness warriors and those who log a couple hours a week on the treadmill are chipping away at their risk of cardiovascular disease because all exercise lowers risk, but in order to get the maximum benefits, a lifestyle of frequent activity is recommended. Your good intentions at the gym are not going to cut it if your daily life involves sitting at your office desk all day.
If changing careers is not part of your 2012 agenda, at least make it a point to move your body more often while at work.
The following are some helpful tips to keep your heart healthy.
Take the stairs instead of the elevator.
This is a no brainer, but is often not done because of improper footwear or attire. Do your best. If need be, take off your high heels and jet up the stairs in your bare feet.
Park as far away from your building as you can.
Hot, snowy, windy or rainy? Who cares! Bring an umbrella, wear a hat, don some snow boots. Let yourself be a little bit more connected to the outside world. Fresh air is a good thing.
Sit on a balance ball instead of a chair.
Give your body a reason to activate your core muscles. You will burn a few more calories during the day and enhance your posture. What could be better?
The study suggested that even mild exercise such as yoga helped to lower risk of cardiovascular disease. Take at least five minutes every hour to stand up, move around, and stretch.
Get a standing desk.
These are becoming more popular, with endorsements from as high up as Donald Rumsfeld to your work-at-home-mom. See if your company can work it in to the budget. You’ll inadvertently move more throughout the day and will improve your posture.
Drink more water.
Why? This isn’t exercise, but you will have to go to the bathroom more often as a result, thus getting up off of your rear end as you stride down the hall to the lavatory.