Wellness Wednesday – Get Up Stand Up

Not only do travellers on long-haul flights have to worry about DVT (deep vein thrombosis i.e. blood clots) but they should be concerned about sitting as well. If you Google the phrase “sitting is the new smoking” you’ll come across articles citing studies which suggest sitting is bad for your health.

Google search: Sitting is the new smoking

This phrase was apparently coined by Dr. James Levine who conducted research on the effects of a sedentary lifestyle. He, along with other researchers, have found that sitting for long periods of time on a regular basis is bad for one’s health. Those who do are at greater risk for heart disease, cancer and type II diabetes. Compared to our ancestors, people today generally sit well over 6 hours everyday at work, in a vehicle and in front of the t.v. Travellers too, can find themselves sitting for long periods of time in a plane, bus/train travel or behind the wheel of a car on long road trips.

So why smoking?

Like smoking, sitting has detrimental effects whether you exercise or not. The key is being physically active, in addition to working out, to cut down on the amount of hours you sit in a day. Be active on your travels: walk whenever possible, move around whether in transit or at your destination and maintain some sort of fitness routine. Many urban destinations have popular sites within reasonable walking distance of each other. Rather than relying solely on taxis and tour buses to get around, find a local map or go by instinct to explore your destination on foot.

Some more tips:

If travelling by plane, bus or train…
*Get up, stand up and walk around at regular intervals.
*Do chair yoga. Modify popular yoga poses and perform them whilst sitting. E.g. the cat stretch is when you arch your back while on your hands and knees. Simply arch your back as you sit to help keep the spine mobile and active.
*Chair fitness is an exercise approach that targets the senior population and those with limited mobility. Lifting the knees, tapping the toes and raising the arms are some common movements performed while sitting to keep the muscles in motion.

If driving…
Take breaks to get out of the car and walk around. Check out my very own creations: ‘Drive by hiking‘ and Specialized walking tours for suggestions.

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