Another fact which is so obvious it needs no research is that spending much or most of each day sitting may lead to obesity. If calories from food don’t get worked off with exercise or other activity, they will be stored as fat.
Don’t make the mistake of thinking that an hour spent walking or jogging will offset four or five hours of sitting. It doesn’t work that way. The effects of long hours of sitting are profound on every part of the body; from blood vessels to the respiratory system. A relatively short time of activity compared to the longer time sitting doesn’t balance everything out.
So how do you keep, and use, a sitting journal? Start with purchasing at least four identical small notebooks. Distribute them to the places where you spend time sitting. Put one on the kitchen table, for example, another in your vehicle. If you take public transportation, carry the notebook in a purse or fanny pack. Place another near the couch or chair where you watch TV. If you spend time sitting for a hobby, such as reading or putting together a puzzle, put a notebook where you do it.
Whenever you spend time sitting, use one page of the appropriate notebook to write down the date on the top of the page and the time you started sitting as well as the time you stood up and went somewhere else. If you’re pulling out the notebook that you carry with you outside your home, don’t be embarrassed if others stare if you start writing down the time you sat to have lunch and the time you stood up to go elsewhere. Remember, a sitting journal isn’t kept forever. You just want to get a close estimate of how much time a day you spend on your butt.
Once you have a good gauge of your sitting habits, start adjusting your sitting to a more healthy routine. Stand or pace around while watching TV. Stand while using your phone. Take a break after every 30 minutes of sitting and do side bends, toe touches or march in place.
It may be hard to spend more time upright at first, but with time, it gets easier. And the results, which include losing fat, gaining more mobility and lessening the risk of a disabling fall, are certainly worth it.
Wina Sturgeon is an active 55+ based in Salt Lake City, who offers news on the science of anti-aging and staying youthful at: adventuresportsweekly.com. She skates, bikes and lifts weights to stay in shape.