Your clients are probably pretty proud of their commitment to exercise, and they should be! Finding time for fitness is a huge accomplishment in today’s busy world. But recent studies show that even dedicated fitness enthusiasts might suffer ill effects from sitting too much.
If your clients are like most Americans, they sit more than six hours per day. According to a 2013 study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine, that increases their chances of early death by 10% if they exercise regularly and 40% if they don’t. The study found that even people who get regular exercise might be sedentary overall. Dr. David Alter, one of the study’s authors said, “Even if you do a half-hour or an hour of exercise every day, it doesn’t give us the reassurance that sitting for the other 23 hours is okay. In fact, it’s not.”
Mayo Clinic says sitting too much can lead to increased blood pressure, high blood sugar, excess body fat around the waist, and abnormal cholesterol levels. All of these issues compound, leading to an increased risk of death from cardiovascular disease, cancer, and other illnesses.
Talk to your clients about how much they sit at work and in their free time, and suggest easy ways to inject more movement into their daily routines.
Here are some suggestions you can give them:
- Play more with your kids. Instead of sitting on a bench at the park, climb up the jungle gym, play chase, or swing from the monkey bars. It’s a great way to engage muscles that don’t get much use during the workweek.
- Use the far end of the parking lot. Parking far away from a destination forces more movement and every little bit of exercise adds up.
- Do jumping jacks, or other exercises, during television commercial breaks.
- Take the long way when walking to meetings, the bathroom, or the printer at work, and always choose the stairs when given an option.
- Do chores. Raking leaves, taking out the trash, and mowing the lawn are all ways to add extra movement to your days. You can also add movement to standing chores. Take laundry out of the basket one piece at a time to force yourself to bend, or lift yourself up on your toes repeatedly while cooking.
While the internal impact of sitting too much might go unnoticed, your clients who sit a lot probably complain about pain and stiffness. There are several products that can help relieve these aches and pains and undo some of the postural damage caused by chair time.
- Recommend two minutes with a foam roller each night. Dedicating even this short amount of time to myofascial release has been shown to improve range of motion and allow nutrient-rich blood to flow into the muscles.
- Recommend spending some of the workday sitting on an exercise ball instead of a chair.
- Have patients track their movements using a fitness tracker. Measuring how many steps they take each day will help them set realistic measureable goals for improvement.