3 Simple Ways To Relax On Spring Break Without Sitting All Day

Woman in a white hat and bathing suit sits by a pool

When you think of a relaxing spring break, what comes to mind? Maybe you imagine sitting in a lounge chair by the pool, sitting at the beach reading a good book with your feet in the sand, or sitting with family and friends at the table chatting while eating delicious food. While all these activities are definitely relaxing, did you notice the common thread? Sitting!

Woman sits on the beach with a book

While you’ve all heard by now sitting is the new smoking, I hope this helps you better understand the long-term and devastating effects of sitting. I’m often amazed at how hard many people work at the gym in the morning, then sit all day long, whether at work or in their spare “fun” time.

Imagine three people: one sits all day long (14 hours) crashing on a huge project with time for only bathroom breaks; another sits all day (14 hours) yet takes one hour to pedal a stationary bike in the company gym downstairs, and last someone who works seated for those 14 hours yet accumulates 6 hours standing or strolling at a metered pace.

The study from the University of Maastricht displayed just how detrimental sitting can be. The negative metabolic, heart health, insulin resistance, and cholesterol levels changed markedly more for the person who worked for four days for 14 hours straight.

In just four days…

  • The insulin and cholesterol levels for the person who exercised lightly for one hour of the 14 were better than the person who sat all day. Yet, sadly the heart health was the same as the person who sat uninterrupted (except for their bathroom trips) all day.
  • The person who stood or strolled fared markedly better than the other two cases in terms of heart health indicators, metabolic profile, and muscle tone. Standing causes the recruitment of more muscle contractions throughout the day and busy muscles burn blood sugar for fuel keeping insulin levels steady. Contracting muscles also keep releasing chemicals that can reduce bad cholesterol.

So… how does this apply to your serene spring break relaxation itinerary?

While it may seem difficult to avoid sitting while getting in some much-needed “me-time,” there are ways to reduce the amount of time spent with little to no movement.

  1. A simple switch would be to sit by the pool for a little, then go for a swim or take a walk around the pool area.
  2. Instead of sitting outside and reading, consider taking a book or e-reader on a hike or walk in a park. Relaxation…with a view!
  3. When spending time with family and friends, don’t be afraid to get up and move! Great conversations are as easily had on a group walk instead of around a dining table.

Of course, we won’t be on break forever, and our usual work routine will resume soon enough. It’s just as crucial to ensure that our workdays are less sedentary, so we can enjoy greater wellness, longevity, and mobility.

Consider using a standing desk, taking short breaks to stretch and walk around the office, or holding walking meetings. Even simply waking up a bit earlier for a pre-work walk holds amazing benefits.

Swapping out sitting for light movement not only helps to reduce the negative impact of prolonged sitting, but also provides a list of benefits too long to count, including improved cardiovascular health, increased energy, and decreased stress.

Here’s an extra tip for when spring break has ended: For those of you who spend much of your days driving, remember driving is sitting. Take breaks. When you go to the store, park far away from the entrance. When you pick up your kids from school, park further away. When you must be in the car for more than 1 hour at a time: stop for a 2 to 5 minute break. When you brush your teeth, stand on one leg. When you see a park or playground, go play!

Adrien Cotton of Alexandria Wellness does a lunge on the beach

Being well doesn’t have to be difficult. It is as easy as deciding to honor your body for all it does for you. If you’re ready to take your wellness to the next level and gain freedom from a sedentary lifestyle, you can begin by joining my newsletter to get holistic tips and strategies sent right to your inbox. Register here. If you want to up-level your movement routine entirely, and leave prolonged sitting in the rearview, reach out to me to schedule a 30-minute free consultation to see if my Small Group Concierge Program is right for you!

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