Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Artists' Unhealthiest Habit and How to Stand Up to It

I have some NEAT advice for all my fellow artists, as well as my charming friends who: love to read, love to relax in their porch swing, are computerized office workers, or those who love to take long road trips. This advice is perfect for all of us who lead lives primarily from the seated position. Stand Up for your Health!
Two recent studies show that being sedentary for long stretches might be one of the unhealthiest things we do each day -- even if we regularly exercise. Guilty!

The second we sit down, three important things stop or slow down in our body: the calories we burn, our enzyme activity (digestion), and electrical activity in the leg muscles shut off. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that the average American spends 9.3 hours each day sitting. As an artist who creates behind a sewing machine and operates an online boutique, I am certain I meet or exceed this statistic.

What is my NEAT advice for everyone who thinks their chair is the best place on earth? 

NEAT is an acronym for Non-Exercise Activity Thermogenesis, a term used by James Levine, MD, PhD, for all the incidental movement you do throughout the day that is not considered formal exercise. I believe that my smart phone is my greatest advocate in this goal to increase my movement throughout the day. I set my timer to ring every 60 minutes with the song Happy by Pharrel Williams. Have you ever tried to not move around when this song is playing? It has become the cue in my fiber art studio to stand up, dance around, and shake my backside. This is a healthy and silly prompt to reinvigorate my circulation.

Here are some more NEAT ways to get moving:
Strap on a fitness-tracking device. I use a BodyMedia armband to keep track of how much I move each day. It is incredibly motivating to me!
Watch TV while doing chores. I fold clothes, dust my furniture, and go up and down stairs throughout commercial breaks. I don't feel like I am missing any plot points...heck, does TV even have a plot anymore?
Learn a new hobby. I've gone old-school and am taking up again some of the playground favorites of my youth. I am determined to relearn how to jump rope! Yes, think Mohammad Ali and his quick-step jump rope training. I especially want to master those awesome cross overs and double jumps!
Give up a few conveniences. Operating a fiber art studio is a physical job. There is a lot of moving around, heavy lifting and bending/twisting action. To make sure my body is not sedentary for long stretches of time in the studio, I have learned to be a little less efficient with my seated tasks and instead, add in bouts of action throughout the day. Is it inconvenient to interrupt a lengthy machine-quilting session with cleaning duties? Yes. Does it decrease my risk of future cardiovascular disease? Yes.

Let's all stand up for good health!

Thanks for stopping by,

P.S. I would love it if you'd follow my blog and share it with your friends. It is my goal to surround myself with people who love textiles, art, creativity, vibrant living, colorful home decor, healthy food, loving friends and inspiration! Best wishes, Georgianne

1 comment:

Olga Wassupbrothers said...

What a great article! Right in time :) Thank you for reminding to move and stand up:) he he.I doing it right now, straight after writing this comment :)