I just read a depressing article in one of our medical journals. Then it made me angry, because it’s so unfair. And then I decided to spread the “cheer.” According to the Endocrinology Advisor (It’s an online thing) modern day workers are becoming so sedentary that if we sit still for more than ten minutes at a time we’re increasing our chances of diabetes and worse–metabolic syndrome, which affects most organs in our bodies.
That’s the bad news, and it’s really bad, because diabetes runs in my family and I’ve lost a lot of beloved relatives to this horrible disease. The good news is that if you live near a sidewalk, a walking/biking trail like the one shown here, or even if you have some music you can dance to, if you’ll get up and utilize any kind of exercise option, you’re increasing your chances of a longer and healthier life.
But really, if you sit for ten minutes you’re increasing your chances of diabetes? How crazy is that? And then I read the fine print–it was medical gobbledygook so I didn’t pick up on it at first, but that’s for extremely obese people and their chances of developing diabetes. Well, that’s not quite as encouraging as it could be, because it’s easy to become obese in our world today.
So I thought about the word “sedentary.” That means remaining perfectly still, right? I have an old high school buddy who, during class, could not sit still. He was always jiggling his leg, moving, tapping a pencil. I never gave it any thought at the time, but he always had a lot of nervous energy. Now, decades later, he’s still slender. He never had trouble with weight. I think it’s because he was always moving even when he was trying to sit still. Who knew hyperactivity could be healthy?
Here at the clinic I encourage the staff to get outside in the sunshine and at least walk around the building. Even around the block. It doesn’t take much time at all, and that little bit of movement helps keep them healthy.
When you watch television do you sit still? I used to utilize that time to work out on the exercise bike or the elliptical machine. I don’t anymore since I’m so tired when I get home at night. I just sit. But it’s time to get up and at least dance when the theme song comes on the tube. I can do that, right? We can all move a little more each day. I even rock in my rocking chair. That’s movement. It also helps with pain. Did you know that? Walking or other kinds of movement can help with pain, and the older you get the more you’ll see that.
So next time you find yourself sitting for a long period of time at home or at work, get up and move. Even dance. Make it a fast dance. If you can, get outside for some vitamin D and walk around for a few minutes a few times a day. It’ll not only help you feel better in the short term, but also in the long run.