Sadly, ‘sitting is the new smoking’ may well be the case as emerging research alarmingly suggests that prolonged sitting can be as bad for our health as smoking. (See the poster sitting-facts)

Here are 3 compelling reasons from Kris to take regular breaks:

  1. Your metabolism slows down after as little as 10-20 minutes in a sitting position, Then blood sugar management is more difficult and fat storage more likely.
  2. Movement activates the efficient delivery of oxygen and glucose to the brain. Without movement, our brain ‘downshifts’ making it more difficult to pay attention.
  3. And as if these two negative consequences of excessive sitting were not bad enough, posture when seated (or slumped) is far from ideal and can lead to back and neck pain.

Top Ten tips

  1. Get up every 20 minutes – set an alarm if you are not in the habit of this
  2. Do a few simple movements when you stand up (see below)
  3. Make it a rule to stand and/or move around when you are on the phone
  4. Put the remote control out of reach
  5. If you are watching TV get up during every ad break
  6. If you are reading – make a rule to get up after every 10 pages
  7. If working at the computer, stand and make starfish hands opening and closing the fists
  8. Make it a rule to take a 10-minute walk every night after dinner
  9. Play a favourite piece of music or turn up the radio then freestyle dance
  10. Before you sit down again – do a few sit-to-stands – 4-6 would be great

Helpful Exercises from Kris:

Simple ‘butt break’ movements

  1. March in place – tapping your opposite knee with alternate hands
  2. Get your hips moving. Include hoola-hoop movements, figures of 8, side to side.
  3. Try some torso turns, side bends and shoulder rolls
  4. Do a little toe-tapping or touching the ground first with the heel, then with the toe.
  5. Do a volcano stretch – start with hands in heart-centre, reach high and sweep the arms around to your side. Repeat.

Kris says:

It is never too early to start and never too late to begin!

For more helpful tips from Kris about helping back pain, see last month’s article ‘I’ve got a bad back!’

Do you have any tips or stories to share?

Exercise Specialist, Kris Tynan.

Watch out for more great exercise and lifestyle tips from Kris Tynan next month.