Recently, I attended a Continuing Education Class on reducing chronic inflammation in the body through nutrition. The speaker was Dr. Michael Lara, a doctor who specializes in the treatment of mood, anxiety and memory disorders through an integrative approach to health. Dr. Lara combines traditional psychiatric approaches with innovative, evidence-based strategies that include nutrition and exercise prescriptions.
He was a wealth of information about the causes of chronic inflammation in the body and the significant damage it can cause if left untreated. Even with all the very clinical and evidence based information he provided in this class, I thought his most profound statement had to do with the language he uses with his patients. He said that instead of talking to his patients about exercising more, he asks them to think about sitting less. I love this idea because for many, the idea of exercise seems like a daunting task but most everyone can think about sitting less. (He said even people who cannot physically stand can think about moving any part of their bodies they can.) The trick is to avoid staying stationary for long periods of time.
Research is beginning to show that even people who have a regular exercise routine in their life but spend the rest of their days sitting, are more likely to suffer heart disease, diabetes, cancer and premature death. Moving around activates the large muscle groups in your legs and back helping burn calories and keep blood sugar in balance. Scientists are now recommending you try to stand up and move around about every thirty minutes throughout the day. Now when I am working on the computer, I frequently hear Dr. Lara’s voice telling me to stand up. As the day wears on, I find myself doing a mental inventory of how many sedentary activities I have engaged in. If it feels like I have sat for too long, I will head outside on a walk, go fold laundry or stand up while working on the computer or reading my texts. It seems insignificant but it all adds up to less time spent on my butt!