Combine autumn’s cold, wet weather with sunsets falling during the 4:00 p.m. hour and you get a MAJOR case of the blahs. Even without the quarantine mandates of COVID-19, this time of year we’re trapped indoors more than we’d like. And, let’s face it, for much of that time we’re sitting (usually in pajamas, often in front of a screen or two). There’s not much we can do about the weather—or global pandemic—but small changes to our routine really can make a world of difference.
The Mayo Clinic explains that “When you sit, you use less energy than you do when you stand or move. Research has linked sitting for long periods of time with a number of health concerns. They include obesity and a cluster of conditions—increased blood pressure, high blood sugar, excess body fat around the waist and abnormal cholesterol levels—that make up metabolic syndrome. Too much sitting overall and prolonged periods of sitting also seem to increase the risk of death from cardiovascular disease and cancer.”
And they have the research to prove it. “Any extended sitting—such as at a desk, behind a wheel or in front of a screen—can be harmful. An analysis of 13 studies of sitting time and activity levels found that those who sat for more than eight hours a day with no physical activity had a risk of dying similar to the risks of dying posed by obesity and smoking.”
So, what can be done when rain, snow, and germs keep us house-bound for weeks on end? The simple act of standing up has been shown to not only reduce sitting’s dangerous effects but may even help us lose a little inevitable winter weight.
Healthline reports that “standing for six hours a day instead of sitting not only prevents weight gain—it can help people shed pounds…Standing burned 0.15 calories more per minute compared to sitting. If a 143-pound person stood for six hours a day instead of sitting, they would burn an extra 54 calories a day. In addition, the muscle activity from standing is also associated with lower risks for strokes and heart attacks, researchers said.”
Consider a standing desk if you work from home or just setting a reminder on your phone to get up and stretch your legs for a few minutes every hour. Walking—even short excursions—is the best yet as it can burn 210 calories an hour, say Harvard researchers.
With regards to a standing desk, Harvard “advocates of standing desks point to studies showing that after a meal, blood sugar levels return to normal faster on days a person spends more time standing. And standing, rather than sitting, may reduce the risk of shoulder and back pain.”
Now 54 calories here or 210 calories there may not seem like much. But burning that extra 54 calories each day equals more than 5 pounds in a year and that’s not bad. More than weight, however, standing and moving around is good for our bones, joints, and internal systems as well.
If you have joint pain or mobility issues from years spent behind a desk, let Pacific Surgical Center’s Orthopedic specialists get you back on your feet in a flash. They’ll work with your primary care team to determine the best course of treatment and can perform outpatient surgery on painful issues of the foot, ankle, shoulder, leg, knee, hand, arm, ligaments, and tendons.
Once recovered, small changes can easily become larger, lifestyle-impacting benefits. Just imagine being able to spend a stunning Pacific Northwest spring afternoon or balmy summer evenings out and about. Recuperate during the winter to enjoy walks, hiking, bike rides, swimming, and outdoor activities…all easy to do even with social distancing guidelines.
Mayo Clinic researchers found that “analysis of data from more than 1 million people found that 60 to 75 minutes of moderately intense physical activity a day countered the effects of too much sitting…The impact of movement—even leisurely movement—can be profound. For starters, you’ll burn more calories. This might lead to weight loss and increased energy. Also, physical activity helps maintain muscle tone, your ability to move and your mental well-being, especially as you age.”
When you’re ready to make a change, give PSC a call at 360-442-7900 or schedule an appointment online. They’ll walk you through your options, clearly posted transparency pricing, and answer any questions. Then get ready for the new you to dance into 2021 with a spring in your step.