If you've landed on this page, you no doubt are looking for answers on how to Overcome Your Sedentary Lifestyle. Unless you've been living on another planet, you must recognize how the digital age is affecting the human body. And if you own a computer, television, and cell phone, you are likely suffering with the rest of us from what I call Sedentary Lifestyle Syndrome (SLS). After 25 years of working in the health and fitness industry, and ten years as a writer/author, I've learned a few things about combatting the inevitable outcomes of a "sitting career." At the request of many of my clients and fellow writers, I decided to write a non-fiction book on the subject.
Just in time to get you fit and healthy for summer.
(Available in e-book, full color print, or black& white)
Or you can always contact me here on my website to order a signed copy at a discount rate.
Overcome Your Sedentary Lifestyle
(A Practical Guide to Improving Health, Fitness, and Well-being for Desk Dwellers and Couch Potatoes)
Is a sedentary lifestyle killing you? Are you gaining weight, developing neck pain, carpal tunnel syndrome, back problems, or other health issues that are interfering with your ability to achieve your goals or live life to the fullest?
Sedentary Lifestyle Syndrome (SLS) (TM) is one of the fastest growing health care crises of our time. In this digital age of techno-overload, where most of our waking hours are spent sitting, or otherwise “connected” to some device, we are quickly realizing the negative effects. If you can answer yes to the following questions, you may be suffering from SLS.
- Do you sit for at least 6-8 hours per day?
- Have you gained significant weight from lack of exercise and poor nutrition?
- Do you suffer from headaches, fatigue, listlessness, and lack of motivation?
- Have you been diagnosed with one or more health issues aggravated by prolonged sitting and lack of movement? (ie; Obesity, depression, heart disease, diabetes, metabolic syndrome)
Overcome Your Sedentary Lifestyle is the practical guide you need. Author and Holistic Health Care professional, PJ Sharon, includes tips to keep you healthy—even if sitting is in your job description. Ms. Sharon offers easy to implement solutions for proper work station set-up, exercises for injury prevention and treatment, and a practical plan for self-care success—whether you’re perched on the couch, or on the way to fulfilling your dreams.
Isn’t it time for you to stand up for your life?
In addition to authoring award winning young adult novels, PJ Sharon owns ABSolute Fitness and Therapeutic Bodywork, a private practice massage therapy and personal training business in East Granby, CT. With over twenty-five years in the health and fitness industry, Ms. Sharon offers a multidisciplinary approach to wellness.
As a Physical Therapist Assistant (PTA), Massage Therapist (LMT), Certified Personal Fitness Trainer (CPFT), and Yoga Instructor, Ms. Sharon brings a wealth of knowledge to her clients and workshops. A graduate of Springfield Technical Community College and the Connecticut Center for Massage Therapy, Ms. Sharon also holds certifications as a trainer through the NFPT and teaches therapeutic yoga. A Black Belt in the art of Shaolin Kempo Karate, and former figure skating and power skating instructor, Ms. Sharon’s passion for holistic health and healing comes through in her writing—whether she is penning romantic and hopeful stories for teens, or sharing her wisdom and experience with clients and workshop attendees.
When she’s not writing, or spreading the love through her practice, she can be found kayaking in the Berkshire Hills of Massachusetts, and renovating an old farmhouse with the love of her life.
Enjoy this excerpt from
OVERCOME Your Sedentary Lifestyle
( A Practical Guide to Health, Fitness, and Well-being for Desk Dwellers and Couch Potatoes)
Here is a short list of things you can do today to improve the quality of your life and health, and reduce your risk of injury and illness.
Stay hydrated. I cannot stress enough the importance of keeping your body hydrated. Without proper hydration, every system in your body will be compromised and unable to work optimally. Cells need water, muscles need water, your organs need water, and yes, your brain needs water. A quick formula for proper water intake is your weight in pounds, divided by three. That’s the minimum of how many ounces of water you should drink each day. A 150 pound woman should drink approximately 50 ounces of water, whereas a 210 pound male should drink upwards of 70 ounces of water per day—minimum. Some fitness gurus suggest half your weight in ounces. Although the old idea of eight, 8-oz glasses of water per day (a whopping 64 ounces) is considered the gold standard, it makes sense that the individual build of the person and the type of activity the person does on a routine basis should be taken into account.
Proper hydration is the #1 weight management tool I recommend to my clients.
Fill a 24 ounce water bottle first thing in the morning and keep it with you. (Sure, give it a name and treat it like a pal.) As a bonus calorie burner, make it ice water. Your body has to burn more calories warming the water to body temperature. Just be prepared to carry an extra sweater and know where the nearest restrooms are at all times.
As an aside, alcohol, soda (diet or otherwise), and caffeinated products don’t count—at least in my book. These are dehydrating substances that will ultimately sap your energy and leave you feeling depleted rather than renewed. Not that you can’t have your morning coffee or afternoon tea, and an occasional glass of wine in the evening; just don’t count them toward your hydration goal. You can count vitamin waters and juices as long as they aren’t laden with sugar or artificial sweeteners. If they are, water them down. Or you can make your own flavored drinks by adding lemon or fresh berries to your water for a tasty refreshing drink. Agave, stevia, honey, or coconut sugar are healthier options for sweetening than refined and processed sugars or artificial sweeteners, but avoid adding any type of sugar if you can.
Get Moving. This probably goes without saying, but the more you can add movement into your daily routine, the better off you are. The general consensus is that for every hour you spend at the computer or sitting, you need ten minutes of exercise to combat the effects. If you want to stand up, jog in place, do jumping jacks, sit-ups, and push-ups every hour for ten minutes, great! For me, it translates to thirty minutes of vigorous exercise five times per week, and several mini stretch breaks during my work day. If a half hour commitment four to five times per week is asking too much, the stretches I’ll give you later in this book will easily fill those hourly ten minute breaks with great tools to keep your body healthier and happier than it’s been in years. Honestly, though, you can do ANYTHING for thirty minutes a day. You’re worth it. Your health is worth it. Feeling great and being fit…is worth thirty minutes, no matter how busy you are. The only person preventing you from taking time for your health is YOU.
A NOTE on OVERCOMING INERTIA: During a massage session one of my clients presented the challenge of overcoming inertia as being her biggest stumbling block to regular exercise. She explained it as an inability to find the motivation to get up off her butt. Others have expressed this same idea, lamenting that if they could only be like a wind-up doll or the energizer bunny armed with some external motivator that would get them going, they could do it. It made me think about Parkinson’s sufferers who often experience a sense of being “frozen” in mid movement. No matter how hard they try, their feet will remain glued to the floor until enough messages are sent to the brain or some external stimulus triggers their neurons to fire and their muscles to jump to action. Sometimes it takes something as small as a gentle push from a caregiver or a line drawn on the floor ahead of them on which they can focus, to get them moving again, but they will tell you, until that switch is turned on, they are “stuck”.
That’s how most of us feel. No matter how much we want to move forward and make healthier choices, something stops us. We feel helpless to overcome our own inertia and until that switch is thrown we stay stuck. If I had the magic bullet to solve this problem, I would surely be a billionaire. But the truth is, whatever motivates a person to take charge of his or her life and make necessary changes, is different for everyone.
I can tell you that external motivators, like fitting into a wedding dress or dropping a few pounds for that class reunion coming up are only temporarily effective. You might be able to deprive yourself or drastically change your eating habits for a short time to meet a single goal, but lifelong changes require new patterns of thinking that will lead to new patterns of behavior—which will ultimately help you achieve your goals and stick to a plan. We all know that the immediate gratification of eating that donut is more powerful in the moment than any short term, temporary goal. External motivators are seen as something out in the future and will likely take a back seat to our sugar addiction and need for comfort when we’re stressed.
Internal motivators, however, are the most powerful catalysts for change. How badly do you want to be fit and healthy? WHY do you want it? And what are you willing to do to achieve it? Internal motivators like wanting to feel better about ourselves, have a sexy body, or set a good example for our children are usually longer term and more powerful motivations because they have longer reaching effects and have a greater perceived intrinsic value. It doesn’t mean you won’t fall back into old habits, but the stronger your internal motivation is for WHY you want to be active, fit, and healthy, the more likely you will keep coming back to making healthier choices on a regular basis. Like the Parkinson’s sufferer, sometimes it takes a nudge from outside ourselves, and sometimes it’s just a matter of keeping our eyes focused on the goal before us to break through that state of inertia.
Motivational speaker Harv Ecker says, “Do what’s easy and life will be hard, but do what’s hard, and life will be easy.” He has a point. Each time you stay focused on your WHY, choose to do the right thing, make the hard decision, or force yourself to overcome inertia, the new pattern of behavior will be reinforced. The payoff is being one step closer to your goals. I’m not saying that making the right choices is ever going to be easy, but the long term benefits are so worth the effort that I guarantee you won’t regret skipping that donut.
Modify your workstation. I’ll give you more details on this throughout the book and specifically in the ERGONOMICS section, but if you’re having pain from being at your desk too long, or God forbid, you’re still sitting on the couch working on your laptop, make a change…NOW! Nothing is more important to the longevity of your writing/sitting career than providing a safe and properly designed workstation for yourself. If sitting is killing you, try a standing desk, a treadmill desk, or cycle your way through your inbox with a Fit Desk.
Learn to dictate your notes into a recorder and transcribe them later in manageable pieces when you can sit properly at your desktop computer. Dragon software and other voice recording systems might be exactly what you need to increase productivity while reducing wear and tear on your body. Whatever reason you have for martyring yourself and suffering through the pain, figure it out and get over it. Hurting yourself helps no one! I’ll give you some practical tips later on how to MacGyver your setup if money is tight and you’re looking for shortcuts.
Make stretching part of your life every day. In the shower, in the car, at your desk, or even standing in the grocery store line, there are simple stretches you can incorporate into your day that will help minimize your pain and ensure your muscles stay strong and flexible for life. The stretches in this book are meant to fit the bill.
I highly recommend taking a gentle yoga class a couple of times a week if you can. Yoga integrates whole body movement. It incorporates stretching, strengthening, stabilizing, and balance activities that can not only leave you feeling longer, leaner, and more relaxed, but can even heal the body on many levels. Remember, I spoke earlier of the importance of awareness of how we move? Yoga is a wonderful teacher. It trains us to be mindful and present in our bodies, teaches us to breathe, and can reduce our toxic stress by improving the circulation of our bodily fluids and opening the energy channels where we often have blockages due to stagnation, injury, or illness.
Make your health your #1 priority. I pointed out above that hurting yourself helps no one. Here’s the hard truth. You are ultimately responsible for your health and well-being, so it’s up to you to gather the tools you need to make informed decisions about diet, nutrition, exercise, and living a balanced life. Educate yourself. There are hundreds of thousands of websites, magazines, and books about these topics. Yes, you have to weed through some misinformation and be discriminating about what you integrate into your life, but let common sense be your guide. The bottom line is that if you don’t take care of yourself, no one else will do it for you, so take the time to learn HOW to take care of yourself.
Get regular screenings such as mammograms, pap-smears, a colonoscopy at age fifty, prostate exams, and even regular eye and dental check-ups.
Early detection of disease leads to early treatment and increased survival rates. Treat yourself to a massage once a month or as often as you can afford it and don’t feel guilty about taking time for yourself. Whatever you do, don’t ignore your health maintenance duties. Denial is not your friend. These are important preventative measures that allow you to live a healthy, productive life. You must know by now that you can’t effectively care for anyone else unless you first take care of yourself.
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