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Stand Up And Get Moving! Do You Know Sitting For Too Long Can Kill You?

Stand Up And Get Moving! Do You Know Sitting For Too Long Can Kill You?

Whether you are a student or a professional, chances are you have a life that requires a lot of sitting. Whether it be listening to lectures for 8 hours a day or typing at a computer until you finish that important project, studies have shown that the average American sits at a desk for about 9-10 hours a day!

So let’s break that down:

If we assume the average American is also working 5 days a week for roughly 9 hours for about 30 years, that adds up to 492,750 hours of sitting. And that doesn’t even include the time we sit on our drive to work, school or while we binge watch our favorite show!

How sitting comfortable for too long affects you over time?

Sitting in itself isn’t necessarily a bad habit, but sitting a lot is detrimental. When you sit too often in your day-to-day life, you could experience an early death (due to cardiovascular diseases and even cancer), posture problems and issues in your back and shoulders, decreased hip flexibility, poor blood circulation and even organ problems [1]!

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Research has proven that sitting for long periods can even lead to obesity and metabolism issues. This can be a vicious cycle, since the heavier and more unhealthy you are can make it harder and harder to try to get up and move.

One recent study compared adults who actively spent less than two hours a day in front of a screen with those who habitually spent more than four hours a day sitting. Those with greater screen time had an increased risk of death (by any of the aforementioned causes) by 50%, and a 125% increased risk of heart attack!

Why are we so used to sitting?

With so much research proving sitting is a quiet killer, it seems surprising that so many of us are guilty of indulging in hours and hours of it. But it can be challenging to avoid sitting for long periods. Whether working or studying, sitting happens. And when you come home from a long day at school or work, you can feel mentally drained, leading you to more hours of down time while you “relax” with a tv show.

Habits like sitting down can also be hard to break when you’re surrounded by people doing the exact same thing. After all, when you go into work and sit at your desk, you’re most likely surrounded by other people also sitting at their desks. So it may not occur to you that this is a negative behavior. And if you tend to be a little shy, the last thing you may feel inspired to do is to stand up while everyone around you is sitting down.

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“But standing makes me tired!”

Unfortunatley, many of us try to avoid standing for any extended amount of time because it wears us out. But really it’s just that we aren’t as used to it as we are sitting or lying down. It’s easy to take the easy way and sit in a chair; we are supported and don’t have to rely on our own bodies to support us. Unfortunately, this is a dangerous mindset to indulge in, as too much of anything can be unhealthy.

Don’t let yourself get too comfortable with your chair

As is the case with breaking any bad habit, the first step is to accept that you’re doing something unhealthy. Thankfully, our advice isn’t to spend the rest of your day standing, but rather to take small steps to incorporate a healthy change.

Find opportunities to stand up

Even if you think you stand or walk a healthy amount, there are undoubtedly more opportunities for you to get up. If you’re making a phone call (at work or in your personal life), try to stand for part of it. If you take public transportation to get to work or school, stand instead of sit. While this may seem like a very small change, it can do your body a lot of good.

Stand while you work or suggest getting a standing desk 

At work, you may feel your only option is to sit down. However, numerous companies now make a standing desk. Some are full desks, while others can sit on top of a standard work desk and lift to a desired height. While these aren’t always inexpensive, it never hurts to email your boss and ask if this is something the company would expense. Typically, if a company recognizes it may help their employee be more productive (and healthier, leading to less sick days), they are happy to procure it. And if they are unwilling to spend the money, but you’d like to invest in it yourself, ask if they have a problem with it.

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Get your body moving with a lunch break walk 

Whether you have a standing desk or not, you can still get your blood flowing at work with a walk on your lunch break. While this isn’t a suggesting to skip eating in exchange for a walk around the parking lot, it is a suggestion to spend as many minutes as you can up and walking. You may be surprised to feel more awake and focused when you return to your desk!

Get your coworkers and classmates involved

When you’re trying to improve your health, don’t be afraid to involve others. Along with keeping you motivated, it can also help your friends, family and coworkers to improve their help as well. You may find that many in your office or school would like to take a walk with you on your lunch break or petition to get standing desks. And you’ll feel doubly good for having positively impacted someone’s good health!

Take a break, from your chair

Ask your boss if he/she would have an issue with you taking a brisk walk around the building every hour or so. Ideally you could stand and walk for every hour of sitting, but it’s important not to take advantage of this time away from your desk.

Include standing up as part of your fitness plan 

If you’re goal-oriented, set a goal of steps to meet every day. FitBit or different smart watches will help you track, but apps such as Map My Run or the native Health App on an iPhone will also do the trick. Start off with a goal of 7000-8000 steps every day.

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Go out and stand up

Hopefully after reading this article, you’re inspired to stand up or get walking, but don’t wait around and start tomorrow. Share this article with friends and family and go take a walk. This is the only body you have, so try to take care of it. Even if you’re young and healthy now, it’s so important to do as much as you can to maintain that. Good luck on your new habit!

Featured photo credit: kaboompics via kaboompics.com

Reference

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Jolie Choi

Having experienced her own extreme transformation process, Jolie strongly believes that staying healthy takes determined and consistent action.

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Last Updated on July 28, 2020

14 Low GI Foods for a Healthier Diet

14 Low GI Foods for a Healthier Diet

Diet trends may come and go, but a low-GI diet remains one of the few that has been shown to include benefits based on science. Low GI foods provide substantial health benefits over those with a high index, and they are key to maintaining a healthy weight.

What is GI? Glycemic index (GI) is the rate at which the carbohydrate content of a food is broken down into glucose and absorbed from the gut into the blood. When you eat foods containing carbohydrates, your body breaks them down into glucose, which is then absorbed into your bloodstream.[1]

The higher the GI of a food, the faster it will be broken down and cause your blood glucose (sugar) to rise. Foods with a high GI rating are digested very quickly and cause your blood sugar to spike. This is why it’s advisable to stick to low GI foods as much as possible, as the carbohydrate content of low GI foods will be digested slowly, allowing a more gradual rise in blood glucose levels.

Foods with a GI scale rating of 70 or more are considered to be high GI. Foods with a rating of 55 or below are considered low GI foods.

It’s important to note that the glycemic index of a food doesn’t factor in the quantity that you eat. For example, although watermelon has a high glycemic index, the water and fiber content of a standard serving of water means it won’t have a significant impact on your blood sugar.

Like watermelon, some high GI foods (such as baked potatoes) are high in nutrients. And some low GI foods (such as corn chips) contain high amounts of trans fats.

In most cases, however, the GI is an important means of gauging the right foods for a healthy diet.

Eating mainly low GI foods every day helps to provide your body with a slow, continuous supply of energy. The carbohydrates in low GI foods is digested slowly, so you feel satisfied for longer. This means you’ll be less likely to suffer from fluctuating sugar levels that can lead to cravings and snacking.

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Let’s continue with some of the best examples of low GI foods.

1. Quinoa

GI: 53

Quinoa has a slightly higher GI than rice or barley, but it contains a much higher proportion of protein. If you don’t get enough protein from the rest of your diet, quinoa could help. It’s technically a seed, so it’s also high in fiber–again, more than most grains. It’s also gluten-free, which makes it excellent for those with Celiac disease or gluten intolerance.

2. Brown Rice (Steamed)

GI: 50

Versatile and satisfying, brown rice is one of the best low GI foods and is a staple for many dishes around the world. It’s whole rice from which only the husk (the outermost layer) is removed, so it’s a great source of fiber. In fact, brown rice has been shown to help lower cholesterol, improve digestive function, promote fullness, and may even help prevent the formation of blood clots. Just remember to always choose brown over white!

3. Corn on the Cob

GI: 48

Although it tastes sweet, corn on the cob is a good source of slow-burning energy (and one of the tastiest low GI foods). It’s also a good plant source of Vitamin B12, folic acid, and iron, all of which are required for the healthy production of red blood cells in the body. It’s healthiest when eaten without butter and salt!

4. Bananas

GI: 47

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Bananas are a superfood in many ways. They’re rich in potassium and manganese and contain a good amount of vitamin C. Their low GI rating means they’re great for replenishing your fuel stores after a workout.

They are easy to add to smoothies, cereal, or kept on your desk for a quick snack. The less ripe they are, the lower the sugar content is! As one of the best low GI foods, it’s a great addition to any daily diet.

5. Bran Cereal

GI: 43

Bran is famous for being one of the highest cereal sources of fiber. It’s also rich in a huge range of nutrients: calcium, folic acid, iron, magnesium, and a host of B vitamins. Although bran may not be to everyone’s tastes, it can easily be added to other cereals to boost the fiber content and lower the overall GI rating.

6. Natural Muesli

GI: 40

Muesli–when made with unsweetened rolled oats, nuts, dried fruit, and other sugar-free ingredients–is one of the healthiest ways to start the day. It’s also very easy to make at home with a variety of other low GI foods. Add yogurt and fresh fruit for a nourishing, energy-packed breakfast.

7. Apples

GI: 40

Apple skin is a great source of pectin, an important prebiotic that helps to feed the good bacteria in your gut. Apples are also high in polyphenols, which function as antioxidants, and contain a good amount of vitamin C. They are best eaten raw with the skin on! Apples are one of a number of fruits[2] that have a low glycemic index. Be careful which fruits you choose, as many have a large amount of natural sugars[3].

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8. Apricots

GI: 30

Apricots provide both fiber and potassium, which make them an ideal snack for both athletes and anyone trying to keep sugar cravings at bay. They’re also a source of antioxidants and a range of minerals.

Apricots can be added to salads, cereals, or eaten as part of a healthy mix with nuts at any time of the day.

9. Kidney Beans

GI: 29

Kidney beans and other legumes provide a substantial serving of plant-based protein, so they can be used in lots of vegetarian dishes if you’re looking to adopt a plant-based diet[4]. They’re also packed with fiber and a variety of minerals, vitamins, antioxidants, and other beneficial plant compounds. They are great in soups, stews, or with (whole grain) tacos.

10. Barley

GI: 22

Barley is a cereal grain that can be eaten in lots of ways. It’s an excellent source of B vitamins, including niacin, thiamin, and pyridoxine (vitamin B-6), fiber, molybdenum, manganese, and selenium. It also contains beta-glucans, a type of fiber that can support gut health and has been shown to reduce appetite and food intake.

Please note that barley does contain gluten, which makes it unsuitable for anyone who is Celiac[5] or who follows a gluten-free diet. In this case, gluten-free alternatives might include quinoa, buckwheat, or millet.

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11. Raw Nuts

GI: 20

Most nuts have a low GI of between 0 and 20, with cashews slightly higher at around 22. Nuts, as one of the best low GI foods, are a crucial part of the Mediterranean diet[6] and are really the perfect snack: they’re a source of plant-based protein, high in fiber, and contain healthy fats. Add them to smoothies and salads to boost the nutritional content. Try to avoid roasted and salted nuts, as these are made with large amounts of added salt and (usually) trans fats.

12. Carrots

GI: 16

Raw carrots are not only a delicious low GI vegetable, but they really do help your vision! They contain vitamin A (beta carotene) and a host of antioxidants. They’re also low-calorie and high in fiber, and they contain good amounts of vitamin K1, potassium, and antioxidants. Carrots are great for those monitoring their weight as they’ve been linked to lower cholesterol levels.

13. Greek Yogurt

GI: 12

Unsweetened Greek yogurt is not only low GI, but it’s an excellent source of calcium and probiotics, as well. Probiotics help to keep your gut microbiome in balance and support your overall digestive health and immune function. Greek yogurt makes a healthy breakfast, snack, dessert, or a replacement for dip. The most common probiotic strains found in yogurt are Streptococcus thermophilus[7] (found naturally in yogurt) and Lactobacillus acidophilus[8] (which is often added by the manufacturer). You can also look into probiotic supplements for improving your gut health.

14. Hummus

GI: 6

When made the traditional way from chickpeas and tahini, hummus is a fantastic, low-GI dish. It’s a staple in many Middle Eastern countries and can be eaten with almost any savory meal. Full of fiber to maintain satiety and feed your good gut bacteria, hummus is great paired with freshly-chopped vegetables, such as carrots and celery.

Bottom Line

If you’re looking to eat healthier or simply cut down on snacking throughout the day, eating low GI foods is a great way to get started. Choose any of the above foods for a healthy addition to your daily diet and start feeling better for longer.

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Featured photo credit: Alexander Mils via unsplash.com

Reference

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