We are thrilled to have guest writer, Christie Insley, sharing what she does to get up and moving during her long day of sitting at the office and how she burns some extra calories at home. Christie suffered from anorexia as a teenager, but fully recovered and is now focused on just living a happier, healthier, cleaner lifestyle. In 2013 she, along with her friend Anndi McAfee, launched FitMuses, a mobile app for women that they can listen to as they exercise to stay motivated and inspired to live healthy and happy lives!
Lately I’ve been on a mission to move. I’m sure you’ve heard about some of the recent studies showing that too much sitting drastically increases your risk of not only obesity, but chronic diseases such as diabetes, heart disease, and even some forms of cancer. Now, normally I wouldn’t have paid much mind to these studies. After all — I work out! I’m fit and in shape! I get 30 to 60 minutes of exercise five to six days a week! But what caught my attention is the finding that daily exercise isn’t enough to offset the effects of sedentary time. In other words, when it comes to remaining disease-free, an hour at the gym won’t counteract the effects of sitting for eight hours a day at a computer. Eep!
So what does this mean for me? I, like many people, have an office job. I can’t exactly go out and get work as a farmer, doing manual labor for 12 hours a day. First of all, I know nothing about cows, and secondly, I just killed three house plants in less than a month; I wouldn’t trust me with animals or crops. But don’t worry — you don’t have to quit your day job. Ideally you should move for 10 minutes out of every hour. And the great part about this is, it doesn’t have to be consecutive, and even little things like tapping your foot can be enough to stimulate electrical activity in your muscles, thereby mitigating an array of harmful metabolic effects. The trick is finding little ways throughout your day to get in some movement so that you get your muscles working and your blood flowing.
So I’ve turned this into a game. Last week I set little reminders in my Outlook calendar to pop up at the top of every hour to remind me to “Exercise!” Whenever one of these goes off, I stop my work and do 20 squats or 20 sit-ups (I’m fortunate in that my desk is set away from the rest of my co-workers, so getting down on the floor doesn’t garner me any strange looks). The other day I did lunges down the hall to the supply closet. We don’t have those cool standing desks at our office (and aren’t likely to get them anytime soon), but when I have to read something on my computer, I tilt the monitor up so I can read it while standing. I brought a pair of sneakers to work and I go for a walk on my lunch break (added bonus: I get out of the office and get some sunshine and fresh air). I try to remember to stand when I’m on the phone, and if you have one of those headsets (I don’t), you could even do some pacing.
I’ve been trying to find ways to fit in more movement at home as well. I’ve started doing wall squats while brushing my teeth. The other day I pulled out my yoga mat and alternated sit ups with legs lifts and arches while I watched Netflix on my laptop on the floor. I like to turn on some music and take little dance breaks while cooking or getting ready for work the next day. Even housework became less of a chore when I thought about all the calories I was burning and all the movement I was getting. And now my bathtub sparkles, hurrah!
My point is, the little things add up, and indeed as studies are showing, truly make a difference. If you can find a way to turn movement into a game and discover the little ways you can incorporate more of it into your day, you’ll reap amazing benefits and actually have fun doing it.
How many hours a day do you sit? What are you going to do to get up and moving? —Christie