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Do You Sit Too Much?

Sitting is something that everyone does too much of, that does not seem too harmful but is slowly deteriorating our health. We need to take precautions against a sedentary lifestyle.  Sitting slows your metabolism because large muscles (like those in your legs) are not being used and therefore not burning calories, and a high metabolism is crucial for losing weight and keeping it off. 

This is not even mentioning the physical toll that prolonged periods of inactivity can have on your muscles. The discs in your back can become distorted, affecting tendons and ligaments. Sitting hunched in a chair means that your abs and butt muscles are not being used. Slouching can also strain the neck, causing shoulder and back pain. 

Unfortunately, exercise does not necessarily counteract the negative effects of sitting all day.  It is important to make movement a regular habit, instead of just sitting still. That means that you need to maintain good posture and a routine of regularly getting up and walking and/or stretching.   

You can continually do some stretching while remaining seated but, every hour, take a break from sitting to stand, walk, or stretch. Go for a short walk outside or just walk around the room every 30 minutes. You could start a practice of standing while taking phone calls or while engaged in on-line/in person meetings.  Consider this your reminder to get up and stretch, Right now! 

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Here are a few seated exercises to keep you moving throughout the day: 

1. Look Around – Move your Neck 

Turn your head to the left and try and look over your shoulder and hold for a few seconds … repeat on the right.  You can also sit up tall and drop your right ear down towards your right shoulder and hold for a few seconds and repeat for the left side. 

2. Shrug – Loosen your Shoulders 

Raise both shoulders up towards your ears and hold for a few seconds and release. Repeat a few times for good measure. You could do deep breathing at the same time for added stress relief! 

3. Chest Opener 

Bring your hands behind your back, press your palms together, sit up tall and hold for 5–10 seconds. 

4. Reach and Bend 

Extend your right arm over your head and reach out as far as you can to the left and gently bend over. Hold for a few seconds and do it the other way.