"The groundwork of all happiness is health." - Leigh Hunt

Engage your heart and mind, even whenever you're sitting down.

The dangers of an excessive amount of sitting have gotten increasingly apparent. Research has linked a sedentary lifestyle (especially prolonged, uninterrupted sitting) to an increased risk of heart disease, stroke, diabetes, cancer, brain shrinkage, muscle wasting, poor posture, back pain and premature death. Associated with risks. That's bad news, whether you sit rather a lot due to work, travel, fatigue, illness, or the straightforward love of rest.

While it's best to be energetic throughout the day (stand up and move every half-hour if possible), there are methods to make your sitting time a little bit healthier.

Challenge your brain.

One strategy to increase the health of your sedentary time is to maintain your mind energetic. “In an energetic brain, neurons [brain cells] Fire vigorously and make recent connections. Dr. Andrew Budson, chief of cognitive and behavioral neurology on the VA Boston Healthcare System, says that if the plaques and tangles of Alzheimer's disease begin to develop, more connections may turn into more reserves, or 'backup' cells, within the brain. go

Passive activities, resembling watching TV, have the alternative effect on the brain. “Neurons fire only weakly, and new connections are not being made,” says Dr. Budson. “A growing body of evidence suggests that with the brain, it's use it or lose it.”

For example, a big study published online on August 22, 2022 Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences It found that folks who spent loads of time sitting and watching TV had the next risk of dementia than those that spent loads of time sitting and using a pc, no matter their level of physical activity. be This doesn't mean that watching TV is necessarily unhealthy. Instead, it probably implies that there isn't much on TV that actually engages our minds.

Brain stimulating activities

To keep your mind energetic whilst you're sitting, consider turning off the TV sometimes and doing one among the next:

Expand your horizons. Read a book on a brand new topic, take heed to a brand new sort of music, or learn a brand new language. There are loads of free smartphone apps to get you began.

Play a game. Play cards or board games with friends, or word games on an app or with pen and paper. “Don't play the same game for too long. Keep challenging your brain,” says Dr. Budson.

Get something on paper. Write a poem for a friend, write a story to your grandchildren, draw and color an image, or paint with watercolors. It doesn't must be award winning. Just let your creativity flow.

Take up a brand new hobby. Try a hobby that's suitable for sitting. Ideas include knitting, crocheting, needlepoint, cross-stitching, model constructing, or leatherwork. There are many starter kits available online.

Visit with friends. “Face-to-face interaction, even while sitting down, engages the brain and promotes new brain cell connections,” says Dr. Budson.

Make some music. If you might have an instrument, play it. Learn a brand new song or make up your individual, even a brief one.

Be sure to differ the activities you do if you end up standing on a chair or couch. “Different challenges, especially new ones, make the brain work harder, which keeps it healthy,” says Dr. Budson.

Exercise while sitting.

What makes a great aerobic exercise whenever you sit down? “Anything that motivates you to move,” says McGrail. “It could be a calisthenics routine or it could be a seated boxing exercise. There are dance routines choreographed to a variety of music, including disco, country, and even polka.”

From a seated position you can too do strength exercises using dumbbells (like biceps curls), resistance bands (like rowing movements), or your individual body weight (like leg lifts that you just hold for five seconds). These exercises strengthen your muscles and aid you control blood sugar and metabolism (how briskly your body burns fuel).

While seated, you can too do stretching exercises for many major muscle groups—resembling the neck, shoulders, arms, and legs—to maintain them long, supple, and fewer liable to injury.

And all exercise—whether it's aerobic activity, strength training, or stretching—helps the body maintain good health. It protects against chronic disease (resembling heart disease, hypertension, and diabetes), keeps your muscles and bones strong, improves balance, helps regulate mood and weight, improves sleep. Promotes, and thereby protects, your freedom. It also protects your brain. “Exercise promotes the growth of new brain cells, and increases memory and blood flow to the brain,” says Dr. Budson.

A word about exercise

To find free seated exercise videos, try YouTube. Search for a sort of exercise that interests you and see if there may be a seated version (resembling “seated line dancing exercise”). It's best to follow an exercise regimen from a trusted source, resembling a university, Silver Sneakers (a health and wellness program that partners with Medicare), an authorized personal trainer, or a physical therapist.

For any sort of seated exercise, take the identical precautions as you'll with any exercise. “Use a stable chair, such as a dining chair. Wear socks and shoes to protect your feet. Start with a slow-motion warm-up for a few minutes before your workout, and then slow movements after your workout. Cool down. Exercise,” says McGrail.

Finally, keep in mind that one of the best exercise is the one you do repeatedly. Aim for 150 minutes of aerobic exercise per week plus each day stretching, and strengthening not less than twice per week.

Photo: © JGI/Tom Grill/Getty Images