if you’re like most people on earth, you probably spend a good part of your life sitting around. sitting at the computer, at meals, while driving, watching tv, hanging out on the toilet, and whatever else you sit around and do.
and this may or may not come as a shocker to you, but sitting around is one of the worst things you can do for your health and your yoga practice. the biggest culprit, of course, being sitting at work (unless you’re one of those people who spends most of your time sitting around in the bathroom).
as a dedicated yogini who spends way too much time at my computer (like now, for example), i can tell you that sitting causes your hamstrings to tighten, which also has negative repercussions for your poor little low back.
but there are other risks that come with a very sitty, sedentary lifestyle such as increased risk of obesity, heart disease, high blood pressure and, according to the mayo clinic, even cancer.
hold on one second…i need to get up and stretch…
okay. i’m back. and my back is happy and back in action.
it didn’t take much!
simply getting up once an hour (or, in my case about every fifteen minutes) and doing a stretch or two–or taking a little stroll around the office–helps to fend off the tightness and illness that sitting can bring on.
wondering what stretches you can do in heels and a dress, or a formal business suit?
well, i’m not talking full wheel here. think things like interlacing your hands behind your back and lifting up your arms to open the thoracic spine, doing wrist circles to stave off carpal tunnel syndrome, or just drop and do ten. joking about the ten…sort of…
two super-easy ways to keep active during the workday: always take the stairs instead of the elevator, and whenever possible, walk to your coworker’s desk instead of emailing when you need to talk to them.
once you’ve got the movement habit down, don’t forget to maintain strong posture at your desk. it’s so much easier to slump than sit up straight. and there’s a reason for that. sitting up straight requires muscles. core and lower back in particular. that’s good news and bad news.
bad because it does mean that posture takes work–and who wants work and work? but good because you are actually strengthening your core as you sit…and you have the added benefit of long-term stability for your lower back.
in my estimable opinion, the good far outweighs the bad. so, watch that posture! until it becomes a habit, consider setting reminders on your phone or computer…sort of like your mom, but without all the guilt.
so, that’s all fine and good, but perhaps the hardest part of spending a day at the office is all the bad, unhealthful, but oh-so-yummy food that’s lying around.
your first line of defense is a great offense.
your offensive team:
- water. and lots of it. not only is it the healthiest thing in the world for you, but it also fills you up so you aren’t so hungry for all that other stuff.
- healthy lunch. going out for lunch–or even worse, eating at a cafeteria–often leaves you without many fresh, healthy options. pack your own and you always know you are getting something nutritious.
- healthy snacks. forget the chocolate, cookies, doughnuts and pastries that seem to be ubiquitous around every workspace. but you don’t have to forget to snack. snacking is a great way to keep your energy–and your metabolism–in peak condition. check out nuts.com’s healthy snacks page for all sorts of awesome recipes (including vegan ones!) that i would totally make if i ever stepped foot in a kitchen or could boil water without burning it.
and now, you are armed and dangerous! ready for anything that comes your way! full wheel anyone?