Move More and Sit Less

On average, people in America are sitting over 10 hours each day. This may come as a surprise to some, however, those of you who work desk jobs or are students will agree that the time you spend sitting is a huge majority of your day. Not only do many of us sit while we work or study, but most, if not all of us, sit while we eat our meals, during our long commutes, and while watching television and unwinding from our stressful days. Chances are you’re also sitting while you’re reading this.

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Sitting requires little to no engagement of our muscles, especially our legs and glutes. By not regularly engaging these large muscle groups, they lose their strength and ability to support us, which can lead to injuries. Not only do our muscles become weaker, but being inactive for long periods of time put us at risk for:

  • Obesity

  • Heart disease

  • Diabetes

  • Cancer

  • Backache

  • Dementia

  • Depression

Aside from affecting our health and well-being, sitting for long periods of time can aggravate or worsen preexisting conditions, such as arthritis and bulging or herniated discs. This is because sitting puts more pressure on the spine, which can increase back pain.

With sitting being such a huge part of our daily routines, it’s important to not be discouraged, but instead to act and do the most we can to counter its effects. When it comes to the risks associated with sitting, it’s not so much sitting that’s the problem, but rather sitting and being inactive for long periods of time. Here are some tips for finding a balance:

  • Take breaks. Set an alarm to remind you to get up at least once every hour to stretch or walk.

  • Drink more water. Not only is hydrating good for you, but you’ll also need to get up more frequently to use the restroom.

  • Pace. Utilize your earphones or headset and walk around while you’re talking on the phone instead of sitting.

  • Stretch. There are a multitude of stretches you can do while sitting to not only keep your muscles active, but also to alleviate any discomfort sitting may cause.

  • Exercise. Engaging your core is an easy exercise to do, and not only will it keep your abdominals working while sitting, but no one will even notice you’re doing it.

  • Walk. Park further away from your destination and take the stairs instead of the elevator.

It’s no secret that exercise is the best medicine not just for existing diseases or conditions, but also for preventing them. Although sitting isn’t something we can eliminate from our lives, it is something we can manage and find a balance with. Be aware of your daily activity schedule and make sure you’re including movement to counter the sedentarism according to your own lifestyle. As with any new lifestyle change, it’s important to not be discouraged by initial inconsistencies and instead be proud of your efforts and actions. After all, some change is better than no change.

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Why and How to Establish a Sleep Schedule

Health is multidimensional, so it's important to have multiple healthy habits rather than just one. For example, you may exercise regularly, but not getting enough quality sleep can negatively affect your exercise performance and overall health (and vice versa). Too often do we sacrifice our sleep to make time for other things, not realizing that in doing so, we are sacrificing much more.

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Sleep deficiency is something we’ve all experienced, whether you’re going back to school, are working extended hours, or just consider yourself a night owl. Not only is creating a sleep schedule for yourself a great health habit, but it also promotes self discipline. Adults are recommended to get anywhere from 7-9 hours of sleep, and while that may seem like wasted time to those with busy schedules, it is vital for our overall well-being as sleep deficiency is linked to:

  • Weight gain
  • Increased Appetite
  • Poor focus and concentration
  • Chronic diseases (e.g. heart disease and type II diabetes)
  • Stroke
  • Depression
  • Weakened immune system

Creating a consistent sleep schedule can be difficult, let alone getting enough sleep. However, it only takes 21 consecutive days for a behavior to become a habit. Our bodies crave consistency, and by committing to a sleep schedule, you’ll notice the many ways in which your body will thank you.

To create a sleep schedule and improve your sleep quality, you must:

  • Go to bed and wake up at the same time everyday (even on the weekends)
  • Skip the snooze button
  • Avoid caffeine, alcohol and eating large meals before bed
  • Write down wandering thoughts so that they don’t distract you from falling asleep
  • Go to bed as soon as you’re feeling tired and get out of bed if you're not tired
  • Keep your room quiet, cool and dark
  • Exercise and expose yourself to natural light as much as possible during the day
  • Avoid artificial light in the evening (especially from computers, t.v., or your phone) so your body doesn’t think it’s time to be awake
  • Practice relaxation techniques before bed such as reading, taking a warm bath, or getting a massage
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Practicing relaxation techniques before bed is a great way to prepare your body for sleep. Massages, whether received during the day or at night, are especially helpful with improving sleep quality because they trigger the release of serotonin, a neurotransmitter that helps calm the body and relieve pain. Massages have also been proven to increase deep sleep by decreasing depression and anxiety, in both adults and children. We recommend making massages a part of your routine, at least once a month, to maintain tension and anxiety, and ensure good quality sleep at night.

The Importance of Staying Hydrated

Every cell, organ, and tissue in our body needs water to function properly. With our bodies being made up of 60% water, it is important that we meet our daily recommendations and avoid dehydration.

Studies show that on average, women should drink 91 ounces of water a day, and men should be drinking 125 ounces of water a day. While that may seem like a lot of water, it’s important to realize that multiple processes rely heavily on our water intake.

Water assists in:

  • Transporting nutrients to our muscles and cells

  • Getting rid of wastes through urination, perspiration and bowel movements

  • Regulating your temperature

  • Cushioning your joints

  • Managing weight

  • Improving skin quality

  • Preventing headaches and improving brain function

Staying hydrated is also important in maintaining your energy levels, as dehydration can lead to fatigue, mood swings, and a loss of motivation. It’s important to make it a habit to drink water throughout the day, since we lose water as we breath, sweat, and urinate. Often times, many of us may think we’re drinking enough water, but statistics show that the average amount of water that people drink is just barely above 30 ounces a day.

If you think you may not be drinking enough water, here are some tips to increase your water consumption:

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  • Carry a water bottle with you at times, especially when running errands or at work. This is not only convenient, but it also helps set a constant reminder for you to drink water throughout the day. Labeled water bottles are a great way to keep track of your water intake.

  • Drink water before and after meals. Thirst is often times confused with hunger. Not only is this a great way to hydrate, but it also prevents overeating and reduces your calorie intake.

  • Infuse plain water with your favorite fruits. Aside from the added benefits, fruits such as lemon or strawberries can improve the flavor of your water. Not only will you be drinking more water, but it can also help reduce cravings.

With water being a vital component of many of our body’s processes, it is important to hydrate regularly and meet the daily recommendations. At Serenity, we do our part by offering water/hot tea after every service. This is to ensure that your muscles are well nourished and your body is able to thoroughly flush out the toxins that are being released during your service.

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