It’s official and makes sense. New research by the British Medical Journal has found sitting greater than three hours each day reduces life expectancy by as much as two years. The new study also found life expectancy may be extended by nearly 1.4 years with restricting TV watching to less than two hours per day.
In the study, researchers discovered adults spend an average of 55% of their day engaged in sedentary pursuits. By using data collected for the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) for 2005/6 and 2009/10, investigators calculated the amount of time US adults spent watching TV and sitting down on a daily basis.
So how does this relate to menopause? As we age, we become less active. We tend to sit longer, move slower, and generally become more stagnant. More reason to keep moving! I have written and advocated on exercise and now further research gives us even more of a reason to walk, take the stairs, turn off the TV, bike, and in general just move.
But what if you work at a desk all day? Here are some ideas from WebMD:
- Glance at the wall clock and rip off a minute’s worth of jumping jacks. If you’re a beginner, try the low-impact version (raise your right arm and tap your left toe to the side while keeping your right foot on the floor; alternate sides)
- Do a football-like drill of running in place for 60 seconds. Get those knees up! (Beginners, march in place.)
- Simulate jumping rope for a minute: Hop on alternate feet or on both feet at once. An easier version is to simulate the arm motion of turning a rope, while alternately tapping the toes of each leg in front.
- While seated, pump both arms over your head for 30 seconds, and then rapidly tap your feet on the floor, football-drill style, for 30 seconds. Repeat 3-5 times.
- If you can step into a vacant office or conference room, shadow box for a minute or two. Or just walk around the room as fast as you can.
- Or do walk-lunges in your office or a vacant room. (You could also amuse your co-workers by doing these in the hall; remember Monty Python’s “Ministry of Silly Walks” comedy routine?). Set your PDA to beep you into action.
- No conference room? Take to the stairs — two at a time if you need a harder workout! Do this 5-7 times a day.
- Do one-legged squats (hold onto a wall or table for support) while waiting for a web page to load, the copier to spit out your reports, or faxes to slither out.
- Stand with one leg straight and try to kick your buttocks with the other.
- Sitting in your chair, lift one leg off the seat, extend it out straight, hold for 2 seconds; then lower your foot (stop short of the floor) and hold for several seconds. Switch; do each leg 15 times.
- To work your chest and shoulders, place both hands on your chair arms and slowly lift your bottom off the chair. Lower yourself back down but stop short of the seat, hold for a few seconds. Do 15 times.
- To stretch your back and strengthen your biceps, place your hands on the desk and hang on. Slowly push your chair back until your head is between your arms and you’re looking at the floor. Then slowly pull yourself back in. Again, 15 of these.
- Desk pushups can be a good strengthener. (First, make sure your desk is solid enough to support your weight.) Standing, put your hands on the desk. Walk backward, and then do push-ups against the desk. Repeat 15 times.
So ladies, no excuses – get moving and don’t let menopause and aging lead to inactivity.