Is Sitting Too Much Causing You Health Problems?
This topic isn’t rocket science, but even when we KNOW, sometimes we need a wake up call. And after reading a great article about the health problems that can come from sitting too much, I am reminded that I really need to re-evaluate and “step up” my sitting time and activity routine.
I highly recommend you read this article, it’s easy reading and has great advice!
In the past there were years where I was sitting at my computer and on the phone, working a stressful job that barely allowed me to get up other than for lunch break. During that time I developed frozen shoulder. If you have ever had that you know it is very painful and luckily I was able to resolve it with physical therapy. Then when I felt it coming on in the other shoulder I knew what exercises and stretches to do to prevent it myself.
Then there were a couple years where I was averaging 20 hours a week in my car and then sitting with patients about 45 hours a week, so averaging 65 hours a week. Now when I do the math, that’s almost 40% of the time sitting !!! Yikes! It’s no wonder I developed muscle tightness, back pain and sciatic nerve issues. Again though, with chiropractic care and exercises I was able to recover. Yoga has been a big part of keeping my strength and flexibility over the years. But I tend to skip it during the summer and now I am feeling tight again!
Last weekend my daughter and I took a girls weekend to Duluth and the North Shore Lake Superior. This picture is of us on our 5 mile hike. I LOVE hiking! It’s one of my favorite ways to get exercise and this hike was definitely a good workout! We even crossed the river at the halfway point because the bridge is out . . . and I didn’t even fall in or injure myself!
CGM is a great tool to see the effect of sitting compared to moving or exercise.
I want to share a comparison of my continuous glucose monitor report. You can also read more about CGM in this blog post.
The top graph is the day we went for the 5 mile hike from about 11am to 2pm. The spike at 5-6 pm is when we stopped at a restaurant for an appetizer and I couldn’t find anything low carb so had half a jumbo pretzel. Way too many carbs and no protein.
The bottom graph is a day where I sit. I drove in the morning and evening and sat seeing patients from 9am to 6pm. And the spikes are small meals or snacks. You can see that my blood sugar stays higher longer in the evening when I am driving and snacking because I finally have more time to eat.
My personal plan now to sit less and move more:
- When I’m working at my desk, get up every 30 minutes and move
- Use my makeshift standing desk to mix up sitting and standing
- Get back to my yoga routine at least 3 days a week to increase my strength and flexibility
- Plan treadmill days when I can’t get outside and walk, garden or do yardwork
- Schedule my exercise into my calendar at the start of each week and day
If you tend to sit more than you think you should, I would challenge you to do an experiment and track how many hours a day you are sitting, and then revamp your routine if needed to move more!
Start moving more with what YOU can do. Just this past week I met with a patient that had Covid about 4 months ago and not long after that ended up in hospital with life threatening blood clots. She is very lucky to have recovered as well as she is but she told me . . . I made myself get up and move even though I didn’t feel like it and I think that helped me recover quicker. At first it was only 5 minutes at a time because she was so exhausted but now she is almost back to her normal work and routine. And blood sugars are back in good control!
So the bottom line is . . . Keep moving those muscles!!! Need ideas to get motivated? Check out this blog post
And please share in the comments ways you have found to sit less and move more!