It’s no secret that healthcare is important to Americans – from its neverending coverage in the news and media to its prominence in political campaigns, it’s clear that access to affordable healthcare is in the forefront of American minds. And with the average American spending over 10% of their income on healthcare for an average of $10,348 per person, it’s easy to see why.
However, with statistics revealing ever-increasing health problems, like the fact that over 70% of adults are considered to be overweight or obese, or that 30% of people over 65 have osteoporosis, it’s also easy to see why Americans have to spend so much on healthcare to begin with. Luckily, many of these chronic conditions are preventable, allowing you to cut down on the doctor’s visits and save some cash in the meantime (unfortunately, despite what you might have heard as a kid, an apple a day isn’t going to cut it). Here are some of the best ways to stay healthy:
All that sitting is killing you
Claims such as “sitting is the new smoking” have been all the rage in modern media, and not without cause. Time and time again, studies have shown that sedentary time is associated with “deleterious health outcomes,” even if you exercise regularly. Therefore, it’s best to minimize the amount of sedentary time you have each day. If you work at a job that doesn’t call for much movement, taking short walking breaks or even some light in-place activity will reduce risks to your health. Products like exercise balls and balance boards will also help keep you active when you otherwise wouldn’t be.
All that standing is killing you
So sitting has been proven to increase your risk of death; the obvious solution is to run out and buy a standing desk, right? Not so fast; prolonged standing has been linked to negative health conditions, like heart disease and decreased mental state, as well. While it may seem counterintuitive, standing without moving is just as sedentary as sitting, and may be even more detrimental to your health. The same tips that apply to chronic sitters apply to chronic standers as well: frequent active breaks or other light activity will break up the monotony of acting a statue and help promote better health.
Sitting, standing…why not both?
If sitting is unhealthy and standing is unhealthy, then logically, combining the two should be super unhealthy, but surprisingly, it’s one of the easiest, most convenient things you can do to inject more activity into your day. Products like the height-adjustable desk or desktop riser allow you to simply and smoothly transition between sitting and standing, the action of which can help strengthen your bones and muscles. Many experts recommend the 20-8-2 rule: throughout the day, cycle between 20 minutes of sitting, 8 minutes of standing, and 2 minutes of moving. That way, you’ll minimize the risks of both sitting and standing for too long, be able to stay fresh and energized throughout the day, and have plenty of opportunity to increase blood flow and circulation to your limbs and brain.
Get some light exercise in – right at your desk
Plenty of manufacturers nowadays offer active office solutions that allow you to stay active right at your desk. Products like the desk bike minimize the distracting movement of walking compared to treadmill desks, allowing you to work without disruption. Combine that with newer products like the all-in-one V9 desk bike, which is perfect for common areas in the office and home, and you’ll be able to stay healthy and active no matter what you do.
Spend money to save money
Of course, all of these products will cost a bit of money, and you most likely already have insurance with deductibles and copays, so is it even worth it? Assuming an average copay of $20, even being able to cut down on one or two visits a year will quickly add up, not to mention any medications you might need to take or if you have to see a specialist, both of which you will likely have to do if you have or develop a chronic condition stemming from a sedentary lifestyle. And given the higher chance of death for less active people, it also comes down to how much value you place in a longer life.
Healthcare is constantly on the mind of the average American, and with the amount that we spend on it, it’s easy to see why. Thankfully, many of the chronic conditions that require an arm and a leg (sometimes literally!) to treat are easily preventable with simple lifestyle changes. Simply taking regular active breaks, or springing for an active workstation may be enough to stave off that next prescription or visit to the doctor’s office.