If you’re reading this at work, you’re probably doing it sitting in a chair, hunched over a desk; right? I thought so. Sit up straight, roll those shoulders back, tuck that tummy in, push that chest out, and take a deep breath. That felt pretty great, I’m sure.
It’s no secret that sitting is killing us, and that you should aim to be on your feet as much as possible during the day. However, sometimes that’s just not possible; sometimes, you’ve got to be hunkered down at your desk, smashing out that urgent report for your client. Children are not excluded from the anti-exercise epidemic the world is experiencing, also spending a considerable amount of time on their bums, rather than on their feet.
While I’m a HUGE advocate for reading, a lot, I’m also a HUGE advocate for spending time on your feet and doing your body some good. I’ll admit I’m occasionally guilty of spending too much time at my desk, or too much time on my smartphone; so, to counteract the effects of these habits, I do yoga. Of course, yoga is not everyone’s cup of tea, so pick your poison and get moving.
A 2012 survey by the World Obesity Organisation shows that 39.2% of South African adult women are obese, and only 10.6% of men. Shockingly, out of a group of girls aged 2-14, 23.6% were classified as obese, compared to 16.2% of boys in a similar group. Sadly, these statistics are increasing massively year-on-year, with more people choosing to grab that double burger than go for a 5km jog.
Let’s get back to the sitting dilemma, and why it’s such a problem. If you’ve ever taken a long distance flight, you’ve no doubt been warned about the effects it can have on your body, with deep vein thrombosis being the most frightening. You’re advised to ensure that you keep your blood flowing by keeping your legs moving (with suggested exercises) and taking frequent, brief walks across the plane to bump your heart rate slightly.
The same suggestions can be made for when you’re stuck at your desk. Get up and go for a walk every hour or so; I’m not saying you need to run the Comrades, but even the smallest amount of exercise can help to counteract the effects of the dreaded SITTING. If you can’t leave, then do some stretches, some ankle twists, and take a few minutes to focus on your deep breathing.
Try this; match your breathing to this gif:
Didn’t that feel great? Yup.
So, what I’m trying to get at here is that it’s up to you to keep yourself healthy, both physically and mentally. If you’re feeling overwhelmed, if your body is sore, or if your mind needs a break, then that report can wait 10 minutes. I can guarantee you that your boss will appreciate work done well over work that was done in a hurry.
Visit me on Instagram if you’re interested in following my yoga journey.