Sitting still is one of the worst things you can do. Even if you work out regularly and eat healthy, sitting still for extended periods of time can be bad for your back, kill your metabolism, and, uh… kill you. At least according to the Los Angeles Times. According to their report, a single hour of TV-watching can result in “an 18% greater risk of dying from cardiovascular disease, an 11% greater risk of all causes of death, and a 9% increased risk of death from cancer.”
This is terrible news for people who work in an office and – more importantly – people who play video games. I play video games! (Actually, I work in an office, too, but that’s beside the point). When you think about it, this “news” makes a lot of sense; who hasn’t felt like total crap after a long video game session? Maybe your arm starts to fall asleep from poor circulation (or from laying on it too long). Maybe your muscles cramp up. Maybe you just have a general feeling of “crap, that was really unhealthy” when you finally shut down your system.
As it turns out, you can make some small steps to make this into a net positive experience.
What can be done to combat sedentary behavior while watching TV or playing video games? Well, might I suggest a fitness ball; these inflatable wonders are actually quite forgiving on your back, and work your core muscles without you even realizing it; every small shift in your weight engages muscles in your abs and sides. Sitting on a fitness ball – as opposed to a recliner or an overstuffed couch – forces you to keep a better posture, which helps blood flow. You’re held – quite literally – on the edge of your seat while playing.
And they’re damn comfortable, too!
If you start to get a little restless from sitting on the fitness ball too long, you can just swivel your hips for a few minutes while playing. Boom – instant core workout. You can also get a decent core workout by simply leaning back a little – your ab muscles will engage to hold you upright. Or, if you are an animated gamer who makes lots of exaggerated, energetic motions while playing, you will constantly be engaging your trunk without even realizing it.
Of course, this can be applied to your office space as well; but you may have to cut your desk down to size, so you can reach the keyboard.