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Last Updated on February 2, 2018

The Sitting Epidemic

The Sitting Epidemic

What are you doing as you read this? Most likely, you’re sitting down. On average, Americans are sitting for 13 hours a day and sleeping approximately 8 hours. This totals around 21 hours of sedentary habits a day.[1]

When you get home from a long day at work or school, you most likely sit down to catch up on your favorite TV show or scope all the social media drama you may have missed. While it may feel like the right thing to do after a long, mentally tiring day, sitting actually increases your risk of death. Even if you hit the gym on occasion, you may not be compensating enough.[2]

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Blame It on Our Work

Let’s take a trip back through time. In 1960, an impressive 50% of U.S. jobs required heavy to moderate physical activity.[3] Presently, that percentage sits at a measly 20%, meaning the majority, 80% of jobs, are wholly sedentary or require very little physical movement. The vast majority of us spend our entire workday glued to our chairs and desks. For many of us, our fingers are getting the most exercise typing emails and messages.

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    The More You Sit, the Earlier You Die

    Sitting more than six hours a day greatly increases your risk of an early death.

    After two hours of sitting, your good cholesterol drops by 20%. While you may think going to the gym twice a week for an hour will make up for that, remember: we are sedentary about 21 hours a day. It doesn’t take a mathematician to know that 2 does not equal 21 and will therefore not compensate for it.

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    Sitting also makes us fat. It decreases the activity of an enzyme called lipoprotein lipase (LPL) which helps burn fat.[4]

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      Stand, Stretch, Move

      The key is to stand, stretch, and increase activity as much as possible. Some suggestions for you to move more even though you have to sit most of the time at work:

      • Standing in place increases your energy more than sitting. Something as simple as walking increases your energy level by about 150%!
      • Try to substitute taking the elevator with the stairs instead.
      • If you talk on the phone daily or love lengthy group texts, stand up while you’re engaged in these activities. Pace around your house, or chat on the phone while you walk through your neighborhood.
      • Drink more water! So you will need to go to pee, and stand up to refill your water often.
      • Set an hourly alarm to remind you to stand up and take a lap around the office or your house.
      • And if you do have a busy office job, consider a standing desk. Here’re some great options: 10 Best Standing Desks That Are High in Quality and Cheap in Price
      • If you’ve been meaning to catch up with Karen down the hall at work, don’t just hop on your email or instant chat; take a walk and talk to her in person.
      • As added inspiration, use a health app to count your steps every day so you know how many steps you need to stay healthy and fit. Most fit people take about 5000 steps per day and sit less than 300 minutes. Start with that goal first.

      Take care of your body and your lifespan and take a few extra steps every day! Remember to start small with substitutes for daily bad habits and try to stay aware of what you’re doing at all times.

      After about three weeks, you won’t even have to think about it anymore; you’ll be walking and moving more than ever! Your body will thank you for it. Share this article with a friend so you can keep each other accountable, too!

      Reference

      More by this author

      Jolie Choi

      Gone through a few heartbreaks and lost hundreds of friends but I am still happy with my life.

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      Last Updated on September 20, 2018

      How to Stay Calm and Cool When You Are Extremely Stressful

      How to Stay Calm and Cool When You Are Extremely Stressful

      Being in a hurry all the time drains your energy. Your work and routine life make you feel overwhelmed. Getting caught up in things beyond your control stresses you out…

      If you’d like to stay calm and cool in stressful situations, put the following 8 steps into practice:

      1. Breathe

      The next time you’re faced with a stressful situation that makes you want to hurry, stop what you’re doing for one minute and perform the following steps:

      • Take five deep breaths in and out (your belly should come forward with each inhale).
      • Imagine all that stress leaving your body with each exhale.
      • Smile. Fake it if you have to. It’s pretty hard to stay grumpy with a goofy grin on your face.

      Feel free to repeat the above steps every few hours at work or home if you need to.

      2. Loosen up

      After your breathing session, perform a quick body scan to identify any areas that are tight or tense. Clenched jaw? Rounded shoulders? Anything else that isn’t at ease?

      Gently touch or massage any of your body parts that are under tension to encourage total relaxation. It might help to imagine you’re in a place that calms you: a beach, hot tub, or nature trail, for example.

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      3. Chew slowly

      Slow down at the dinner table if you want to learn to be patient and lose weight. Shoveling your food down as fast as you can is a surefire way to eat more than you need to (and find yourself with a bellyache).

      Be a mindful eater who pays attention to the taste, texture, and aroma of every dish. Chew slowly while you try to guess all of the ingredients that were used to prepare your dish.

      Chewing slowly will also reduce those dreadful late-night cravings that sneak up on you after work.

      4. Let go

      Cliche as it sounds, it’s very effective.

      The thing that seems like the end of the world right now?

      It’s not. Promise.

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      Stressing and worrying about the situation you’re in won’t do any good because you’re already in it, so just let it go.

      Letting go isn’t easy, so here’s a guide to help you:

      21 Things To Do When You Find It Hard To Let Go

      5. Enjoy the journey

      Focusing on the end result can quickly become exhausting. Chasing a bold, audacious goal that’s going to require a lot of time and patience? Split it into several mini-goals so you’ll have several causes for celebration.

      Stop focusing on the negative thoughts. Giving yourself consistent positive feedback will help you grow patience, stay encouraged, and find more joy in the process of achieving your goals.

      6. Look at the big picture

      The next time you find your stress level skyrocketing, take a deep breath, and ask yourself:

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      Will this matter to me…

      • Next week?
      • Next month?
      • Next year?
      • In 10 years?

      Hint: No, it won’t.

      I bet most of the stuff that stresses you wouldn’t matter the next week, maybe not even the next day.

      Stop agonizing over things you can’t control because you’re only hurting yourself.

      7. Stop demanding perfection of yourself

      You’re not perfect and that’s okay. Show me a person who claims to be perfect and I’ll show you a dirty liar.

      Demanding perfection of yourself (or anybody else) will only stress you out because it just isn’t possible.

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      8. Practice patience every day

      Below are a few easy ways you can practice patience every day, increasing your ability to remain calm and cool in times of stress:

      • The next time you go to the grocery store, get in the longest line.
      • Instead of going through the drive-thru at your bank, go inside.
      • Take a long walk through a secluded park or trail.

      Final thoughts

      Staying calm in stressful situations is possible, all you need is some daily practice.

      Taking deep breaths and eat mindfully are some simple ways to train your brain to be more patient. But changing the way you think of a situation and staying positive are most important in keeping cool whenever you feel overwhelmed and stressful.

      Featured photo credit: Brooke Cagle via unsplash.com

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