Sitting for extended periods of time throughout the day has been linked with increased risk of health problems and even with death. A new study from BMC Public Health (2013: 13 ) says that quality of life may also suffer in people who sit for long periods.
The large study included 194,545 Australian men and women aged 45 and older who were randomly selected from the Medicare Australia database. Participants answered questions about physical activity levels and intensity, daily sitting time, and feelings of health and quality of life.
Of those surveyed, 16.5% reported excellent overall health and 25.7% reported excellent quality of life. Women who sat the least were more likely to report greater overall health and quality of life. The same was true for the most physically active women.
“The study’s findings bolster evidence [that it is beneficial] to increase moderate-to-vigorous physical activity and decrease time spent sitting [in order to promote] better health and . . . successful aging,” said the authors.
Want to help your clients get moving during their day? Provide them this 5-minute office workout, courtesy of Annick Magac, a Saugerties, New York–based personal trainer and executive wellness coach:
Task chair spinal stretch. Sit upright in office chair with stomach pulled in and shoulders relaxed. With right hand on desk, twist torso to left, and place left arm behind chair back. Breathe deeply and hold for 10 seconds. Perform 3 repetitions on both sides.
Briefcase chair squat. Place office chair to lowest setting. With feet shoulder-width apart, squat until buttocks skim surface of seat, then return to start. Repeat 20 times. Add resistance by holding briefcase, purse or laptop to chest.
Desk push-up with glute kick-back. Place hands on desk a little wider than shoulder-width apart. Bring feet about 1 yard away from desk. Lower body into push-up, and bring right knee to chest. Straighten elbows and extend right leg back to contract glutes. Repeat 10 times; switch legs.
Paperweight woodchop. Stand with feet slightly wider than shoulders. Hold paperweight with both hands and extend arms overhead in line with left foot. Bring arms across body and bring hands to outside of right knee while performing squat. Return to start position. Perform 10 times on each side.
Seated flutter kick. Sit upright in chair with abs engaged and shoulders relaxed. Placing hands on armrests for stability, straighten and lift legs parallel to floor while squeezing hamstrings. Alternate lifting left and right legs in flutter motion for 30 seconds.