Monday, August 15, 2011

Media and our health

Today I am joining Women Living Well for Media Monday. A series which dives deeper into the effects of social media and the amount of time we spend online using it.

Health Online
Social media and the online world in general have so many benefits – health wise. We now have so much information at our fingertips at a moment’s notice. Want a great healthy dinner recipe? How about a new workout routine? Curious about that cough? What’s my favorite health blog saying today? Web seach!

Yet at the same time, in most situations when we are engaged in the online community, we are on our rumps. I don’t know about you, but I have plenty of sit-time at work. But when I come home, what do I gravitate toward? The computer. I guess it’s as they say – a body in motion stays in motion, a body at rest stays at rest…or perhaps it’s an addiction.

Of course having so many answers thru the online community may be making us lean toward becoming hypochondriacs. Search for symptoms and get every possible disease or condition that has that symptom – hmm…maybe I do have typhoid fever…it’s possible!

Hypochondriasis aside, I think we need to be focused more on what we are doing as we are at our computers.

The Science recently posted an article showing that even exercise doesn’t entirely un-do what all that sitting does throughout the day. The American Cancer Society (ACS) conducted a study of 123,216 participants showing that women and men who both sat more and were less physically active were 94% and 48% more likely to die during the study period, respectively, compared with those who reported sitting the least and being most active. The association remained virtually unchanged after adjusting for physical activity level with the biggest concern being cardiovascular disease. Alpa Patel, a researcher at ACS said "Prolonged time spent sitting, independent of physical activity, has been shown to have important metabolic consequences, and may influence things like triglycerides, high density lipoprotein, cholesterol, fasting plasma glucose, resting blood pressure, and leptin, which are biomarkers of obesity and cardiovascular and other chronic diseases."

Ack! I gotta stand up!

Get Moving!
As human beings we need more movement than our society typically gets. Our bodies were designed to lift, walk, run, move, dig – anything! Sitting is supposed to be for resting and eating. I am very guilty of too much rump time myself! My desk job asks that I sit at my computer for the better part of my work day, commute 1 ½ hours roundtrip and then I come home to read blogs, facebook, anything I can on a computer.

At one point in time it was a good idea to move the treadmill/elliptical/exercise bike in front of the tv. But now many individuals (like me) can burn up the evening in their desk chairs at the computer. Which is why I am considering the option of getting a tablet or at least a very small laptop to strap to my treadmill. That way, if I want to check my emails, read some blogs or just peruse facebook – I’m forced to exercise at least a little as I do it.

See if it’s possible to set up your computer so that you can stand while using it. Set it on a counter or place some blocks under the monitor, keyboard and mouse to raise them up. Have a stability ball? Use it as your chair – it’s tough to stay still sitting on one of those things as you balance (I usually end up feeling compelled to bounce)!

Clare from Peak 313 Fitness also has some great tips to boosting health when at your desk for extended periods of time at Courtney’s Women Living Well blog. My favorite tip is to set a timer so that every 30 minutes I’ll be reminded to get up and at least walk across the office to get the blood moving.

Feeling Good!
To move is to keep your body in good health! I have a feeling that somewhere in the hypothetical owner’s manual for our bodies, it says ‘use it or loose it!’

I challenge you to find more ways to work movement into your day, what will you do?


1 comment:

  1. Your article speaks to so many of us that have to sit down for much of our workday. It is a challenge at the end of the day to get moving, we need to get playful afterwork instead of sitting again because we had a hard day. Thanks for the tips re computer use.