Recently I started wearing a fitness tracker, though I admit I've been using the device more as a motivator to move rather than an analyzer of my actual movements. Because the truth is, I don't move that much. As a work-from-home writer, I spend a lot of time in chairs, sitting, thinking, typing. But now that I have this tracker wrapped around my wrist, buzzing when I'm sedentary for more than an hour at a time, I'm more focused and concerned with my movements than my tracker is — particularly when I realize how long I've been sitting.
Never before did I realize how many hours go by when I'm typing away; one, two, three hours of sitting still while my fingers dance on the keyboard, tricking my mind into thinking I'm doing something. And at the end of the day, I'm exhausted. My eyes are dry and sore, my mind is blank and all I want it to zone out and watch television. But what I'm learning is that I'm not really exhausted. Before I had my tracker, I was hitting only about 20 percent of the steps I'm encouraged to walk a day. Now that I know that, I'm up on my feet at least once an hour every hour, moving around, talking a walk, trying to beat my buzzer to the reminder.
And now that I move around more, I have more energy. It's been a domino effect of positive reinforcement. I move more, I feel better, I move even more. And based on the following things that can happen to you when you don't move enough, you should consider how much action you're getting every day. Here are some things that happen to you body when you sit at a desk for too long:
Your Mind Is Less Sharp
In order to optimize blood flow to the brain, you've got to move around. When you're still for too long, you limit the amount of blood that reaches your brain which can cause foggy thoughts and delayed function. If you're having trouble organizing your thoughts, it might be time to take a walk.
Weak Tush And Legs
When you spend too much time sitting, you put your muscles at risk of atrophying. If you don't use them, they lose their strength and you put yourself at risk for getting hurt even with the slightest movements. A strong butt can actually keep you safe and upright.
Sitting alone puts pressure on your spine. Sitting while leaning forward or down towards your computer screen or to the side to talk into your phone, puts considerable stress on your neck and back, and can lead to long term pain and flexibility issues.
Anxiety And Depression
While there are many theories about why people who don't get a lot of activity tend to be more susceptible to anxiety and depression, there's not one, general explanation. Researchers do believe, however, that the endorphins and energy you do get from exercise can keep the anxiety and depression at bay.
Sitting all day causes poor circulation in the legs, putting pressure on and inflaming the sight of the small veins called varicose veins. Once these veins become affected by this, there's no turning back. Aside from cosmetic concerns, varicose veins make you more vulnerable to blood clots and ulcers. So get up and walk around as much as you can — even if it's inconvenient today, it will help you out for all your tomorrows.
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