Yesterday I was speaking to the R.U.M group – Retired and under-employed men and what fun we had! My lunch-and-learn was titled, “80 is the New 70.” I wish I could say that my generation is following in their footsteps but sadly we are not. 40 is definitely NOT the new 30!
So what is going on with us 40-somethings? My clients tell me they ‘feel ancient’ and ‘older than their years.’ Today’s 40-somethings are aging badly!
Sitting is the new aging disease. We are sitting longer than we ever have before. In 2012, a group of Australian scientists conducted a study on sitting. They looked at over 200,000 people over the age of 45 and what they found just might shock you – They discovered that the study participants who sat for more than 11 hours a day, had a 40% increased risk of dying within the next three years, compared to those who sat for only four hours. Yikes; who sits for only four hours a day?!
The problem with all this sitting, is that it ruins our posture. When we sit for prolonged periods, our heads travel forward, our backs hunch and we lose flexibility in our rib cage. When we lose rib cage flexibility, we don’t breathe properly. So slouchback posture leads to reduced vital lung capacity.
Related: How to Fix a Sway Back
When our ability to breathe is impaired and the amount of oxygen to our lungs decreases we set ourselves us for problems:
Concentration and memory difficulties
Heart strain (the heart needs to pump faster to circulate more oxygen)
Get a Wiggle On!
So why did the R.U.M gentlemen fair better than most of us 40-somethings? They grew up climbing trees, playing sport and probably walking miles to and from school every day! Some of us were lucky enough not to grow up with the internet but our desk-based mobile lives are quickly changing the appearance of our posture with harmful effects to our health and well-being.
If you can’t do anything immediately about the numbers of hours that you sit, you can learn to become an active sitter.
My wiggleosophy is all about active sitting, which involves learning to put a wiggle in your sit – it really is quite fun! Watch how children sit and learn to emulate them. Kids fidget, wiggle and stir because they innately know that motion is lotion! Try these two desk wiggles now:
Move toward the edge of your chair; feet shoulder width apart. Now take loose fists and begin to gently thump the front and sides of your thighs. Do that for 20 seconds and then do the same on your buttocks. Do this once every hour and wake up those tired muscles – feels great!
Next, start to wiggle and jiggle your body from top to toe – ok, you may get some really strange looks at the office, but hey it won’t be long before your co-workers follow suit. Continue to vibrate, pulsate, shiver and quake for an entire minute and then notice the energy buzz of your awakened body.
Fit or Flop?
It’s time to take back our 40s – I don’t know about you, but I want to be skiing at 80! If we can’t avoid long hours at the office sitting, we need to do the next best thing and put a wiggle in our sit.
What secret movement tricks do you use to keep your body alert and active? Please share, I’d love to try them!