We all enjoy taking a break in our days to sit back on our couches or favorite chairs and relax. But what happens when the sitting you do during your workday or on the weekends really starts to add up? All of that time may make it harder for you to stand on your own one day.
Time spent sitting down is time that you are not being physically active. And while we all know the benefits of increased physical activity, it turns out that sitting is, in and of itself, a threat to your future health.
For people who are age 60 and older, each additional hour a day spent sitting increases their risk of becoming physically disabled, regardless of how much exercise they get. What sitting does to your body, muscles and blood circulation is damaging, yet sitting is a part of our modern American lifestyle.
Fortunately, there are non-exercise specific ways to mitigate these health risks associated with too much sitting. For adults over the age of 60, these tips and tricks are particularly beneficial:
- Do more low-intensity tasks: When we sit, specifically when we sit with poor posture, our back, shoulder and abdominal muscles are not engaged. To keep these muscles working properly, low intensity tasks, such as walking, cleaning the house, and carrying your groceries in a basket at the grocery store, are key.
- Start using an activity monitor: The commercials may drive you crazy, but the objective of an activity monitor – to track the amount of daily activity you are getting – has remained steady over time. Whether it is a FitBit, an Apple Watch, or an old-fashioned pedometer, the feedback about your activity can motivate you to move more throughout a typical day.
- Stand, stand, stand: If you work professionally in an office or work on hobbies at home, standing desks are an excellent addition to your furniture collection. On average, a person burns roughly 70 calories more when standing as compared to when they sit. Standing engages the muscles in your abdomen and back, allowing for better posture and structural alignment.
- Engage in non-exercise activity more often: We all know that 30-60 minutes of heart-pumping exercise is good for us, and that we should try to get that activity in every day. But what about the other 11 or 12 hours you are awake for? Engaging in movement and activity outside of a gym is extremely important as you age. Even if it feels obsolete, those extra steps from parking far away and taking the stairs really add up.
What are your tips and strategies to move more? What do you do to stay active and have you found it helpful as you age? Comment below to let us know and share your daily habits on our online community. Your advice may help someone who isn’t sure how to get started!