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Throughout recent years of research, the average Australian has been found to be sitting for 10 hours a day. Now, this may not seem like a HUGE amount of time for some people, but let me run some quick numbers by you.
There are 24 hours in a day.
On average, eight of those hours are spent sleeping.
Now, if we add the 10 hour average sitting time to the average sleep time, we come to a total of 16 hours of sedentary behaviour per day.
This leaves us with just 6 hours a day on average to be active and move about in our homes, offices, school and outdoor areas such as parks, beaches and gardens. But what do we actually do in these six hours? Are we on our phones? Are we watching Netflix? Are we taking an afternoon nap?
No matter what it is that we are doing, our bodies are quietly squirming at the thought of more sedentary time – our bodies are designed to move and be active!
To combat these negative short and long-term effects, we want to aim towards moving every 30 minutes during time of sedentary behaviour. And no, going to the gym for 30 minutes, five times a week does not make up for all the sitting we are doing throughout the day!
Whether you are working a 9-5 desk job, you are cramming in last minute study before your big final exam or you’re a cabinet maker stuck on the saw all day, micro breaks are a great way to keep your leg muscles engaged, reduce sedentary time at work and increase mental focus.
These micro breaks should be taken at 30 minute intervals throughout the day and only need to last 60 seconds. These micro breaks can look like:
The best way to sit less and move more is to cut your mechanical transport time and use your legs to get from point A to point B. By cutting down on travel via cars, trains/buses and elevators, we are able to help maintain and increase our leg, glute and core muscle tone and strength, increase digestion, maintain our current weight and potentially assist with weight loss if necessary. In turn, this helps to reduce the risk of more serious illnesses such as heart disease, type 2 diabetes and some cancers.
There are very simple ways to cut down mechanical transport times, such as:
This is a really important one for all you students and desk workers out there. By improving your posture and doing quick and easy exercises at your desk, we can not only start to see a reduction in back/postural pain and fatigue, but an improvement in posture overall and an increase in postural muscle tone and flexibility.
There are a couple of easy ways we can start to improve our posture while at our desk:
With so much new and exciting content at our fingertips on TV, Netflix, Stan, Foxtel and now Disney+, it’s no wonder Australian’s are averaging 10 hours of sedentary behaviour a day. An important thing we need to keep in mind while consuming all this content is that we still need to MOVE. By including movement throughout the shows and moves we watch, we are able to take stress off the joints that we are loading while sitting, while also increasing our daily physical activity. Not only this, by including movement during times of watching TV and movies, we actively helping prevent more serious illnesses such as type 2 diabetes, some cancers and heart diseases.
The best way to move more while engaging in these screen-based activities is to go for a walk around the house, do some chores or have some challenges you and the family/partner/housemates can try and reach during ad breaks or between episodes of a show. Challenges can include:
Another good way to move more and sit less is to simply stand while watching TV, but stand with purpose. Do some ironing, challenge your balance or do some stretching.
A really good way to sit less and move more is to turn off your screens and enjoy life beyond the social realm. This not only gives your eyes a rest, but will help to improve posture, increase mental focus and decrease stress.
Some ways to encourage turning off screens in your household include:
The above activities are good to not only keep away from your screens, but to encourage more movement and less sedentary time.
At the end of the day, moving more and sitting less is going to not only aid towards improvements in your posture, physical and mental health but also aid in the prevention of nasty conditions such as heart disease, type 2 diabetes and some cancers. So, what will be your tip of choice? Will you take micro breaks? Will you decrease motor travel time and walk part way to your destinations? How about changing your posture? Reducing screen time? Or will it be moving around during ad breaks and in-between episodes of your favourite TV series? Even if you only get some movement in, it is a start – any movement is good movement!
If you have any questions about moving more/sitting less and how to achieve this, please feel free to contact us at Total Health Chiropractic or another health care professional for tailored advice.