Sitting is the new smoking
5 simple tips for more exercise in everyday life
"Sitting is the new smoking" - what sounds like the headline of a tabloid is unfortunately bitter reality, as studies have shown. Sitting has a negative effect on sugar and fat metabolism, blood flow and vascular functions. Inflammations are promoted, muscles are broken down and fat cells fill up. People who spend a lot of time sitting have a 90% higher risk of diabetes. Sitting also causes the arteries in the groin and back of the knees to bend, which in turn is a common cause of coronary heart disease and strokes. Already after 30 minutes of sitting, the blood flow in arms and legs decreases. After three hours of sitting, blood pressure also increases. These cardiac risk factors cannot be compensated for later by sports activities.
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It is a fact that extended, long periods of sitting are now commonplace in Germany. Around 17 million Germans work in a seated position in the office every day, without providing enough exercise. On average, 85% of the working day is spent in a rigid, sitting posture, which has a negative effect on the muscles. In many other areas of activity, too, work is carried out predominantly in a seated position - for example, in freight forwarding, passenger transport and retail among cashiers. In addition, millions of employees make their way to work sitting in a car, bus or train, largely without moving. Leisure time is also increasingly spent sitting - for example watching television or sitting in front of a computer. German citizens in Germany spend an average of 5 hours of their free time using media1 - usually sitting.
1. Pay attention to good workplace ergonomics:
When sitting, your forearms should rest straight on the table or armrests. For good blood circulation your legs should form a right angle, while the arm angle may also be greater than 90°. Sitting straight with intermediate movements backwards or forwards is recommended.
2. Ensure that you change your sitting position frequently and plan breaks to allow for physical activity:
Your activity at work should ideally consist of 60% dynamic sitting, 30% standing and 10% walking around. The more often you change your position, the better. You should never remain in the same position for more than 40 minutes. Also take a break every 30 minutes to move around briefly. You will notice how good it is for your concentration and your body if you move regularly.
3. Incorporate more exercise into your daily life:
Design the workplace so that you automatically move more. For example, put your water and mobile phone further away so that you have to stand up. Suggest to your colleagues and supervisors that you hold meetings and discussions standing up. You can (if possible) travel to the supermarket or to work by bicycle or on foot instead of by car. Use the stairs more often than the elevator. If your time allows, consciously go to your grocery store 2 - 3 times to do small purchases, this will train your muscles, which in turn is easy on your joints.
4. Small detours provide more exercise:
If you need to use your car or public transport to get to your workplace, you could simply park further away from work or get off one stop earlier to take a short walk. Occasionally, go to a more distant supermarket for your shopping. This will also bring a little variety into your daily routine and you can enjoy a relaxing walk.
5. Drink plenty of water:
Drinking enough water not only promotes exercise by making you go to the toilet more often, it also improves concentration, reduces fatigue and increases productivity. Sufficient fluid intake is essential for the functioning of the organs and the body. Among other things, water regulates cardiovascular functions, metabolism and is also essential for the kidneys. Our brain also consists of 80 % water and a lack of fluid intake quickly becomes noticeable through lack of concentration and lack of strength. This is because the proper functioning of this important organ also depends on fluid intake, as fluid supplies it with oxygen and nutrients. In addition, water can also strengthen the immune system, combat fatigue and help with weight loss and the detoxification of the body.