Stop The Sedentary Lifestyle!
Wanna know why sitting is now referred to as the New Smoking? Numerous studies have linked being inactive with our weight gain.
Inactivity, whether it be sitting or lying down for too long affects our ability to get in the 10,000 steps suggested by every health professional alive. it increases our risk of just about every chronic health problem, from heart disease, diabetes, depression and anxiety, as well as many cancers.
If you're like me and struggle with depression and anxiety, you don't need research to tell you that you feel better when you're moving, and how sitting too much is bad for your mental health. Being active is not as hard as you think, even if you are depressed or not feeling well.
Most people don't realize that IT'S NOT HARD CORE WORKOUTS that determine your weight loss maintenance. It's staying off the couch/chair and keeping your body moving more at whatever capacity possible.
A clear, correct perspective on moving versus exercising is a game changer when it comes to losing weight and protecting health. Your joints will also thank you from less wear and tear and pounding too.
Incorporating more activity into your day is easier than you think! Here are some ways you can incorporate activity into your busy life.
- Stand UP every chance you get.
- March or walk in place. It works and beats sitting.
- Dancing counts too. Dance on commercial breaks while watching television.
- Take extra trips around your office, or walk to mailbox every hour.
- Take the steps and park further away.
- Walk or cycle and leave the car at home.
- Get off the train or bus one stop early and walk the rest of the way. *Successful CEOs are known to stay fit doing this as they are too busy to go to the gym.
- Vacuum your house more often.
- Mow your own lawn or clean your own house.
- Walk your dog versus simply letting him out.
- If all else fails, become a weekend warrior and get in as much activity as possible to offset all the sitting and inactivity.
- Sign up for a walking club or walkathon to stay and be active (please be safe in the process).
How does a sedentary lifestyle affect your body?
Our bodies are designed to stand upright. Your internal organs, heart, and cardiovascular system work more effectively that way. Your bowels function more efficiently when you are upright, preventing blockages before they can become problematic.
That's why it's so common for people who are bedridden or slowed down by aches and pains, including post surgery, to experience problems like constipation. On the flip side, when we are appropriately physically active, our overall health and energy levels improve, and our muscles and bones maintain their strength and toxicity.
Gluteal Muscles (buttocks), Legs
Sitting too long leads to muscle wasting, weakening of the large leg and gluteal muscles. Not only are the large muscles important for walking and for stabilizing us, if these muscles become weak falling is more likely. Sadly, we are more likely to injure ourselves from falls, strained and torn muscles when we do exercise. The solution is STAY ACTIVE, MOVE MORE!
Metabolism Slows and We Gain Weight
Moving your muscles prevents muscle wasting, which keeps your metabolism in working order and helps your body digest the foods you eat and improve nutrient assimilation. If you sit more than you move, digestion is not as efficient. Digestive and gastric issues increase and our bodies store fat and sugars as an extra layer of fat around our body, including internal organs.
Even if you exercise every day, but spend a large amount of time sitting, regardless of how intense we are, we are still at a higher risk for health problems, which includes metabolic syndrome.
The simple solution is to follow the guidelines researchers now suggest (and I agree) that everyone needs to get 60-75 minutes every day of moderate intensity movement/activity to combat the proven dangers of excessive sitting.
Stand more sit less.
Hips and Back Issues
The same way our buttocks and legs wither away when we sit too much, our hips and back lose muscle and strength and have a harder time supporting our body when we sit too long.
Most people don't realize that sitting causes our hip flexor muscles to tighten up and shorten, which is a leading causes of hip joint problems, and one of the most overlooked muscles to stretch, which makes it worse.
Sitting for long periods causes problems with our back, especially if you consistently sit with poor posture, slouch forward or backward, or lean to one side (and this includes sitting in the car).
The #1 cause of poor spine health, such as disk compression, degeneration, and herniated disks is POOR POSTURE!! The simple solution is to SIT LESS, MOVE MORE, and stand and sit up straight!
Stiff, Achy Neck and Shoulders?
If you spend your time sitting more than you're moving, hunched over looking at your phone or computer keyboard, it’s only a matter of time before you begin to feel pain and stiffness in your neck and shoulders. Simple solution = STAND UP STRAIGHT!
Anxiety and Depression
If you're feeling anxious, depressed, or your energy is low GET UP AND MOVE!
It's free, guaranteed to work, and makes you feel better fast. The saying, “Change your thoughts by moving your muscles” is an amazing miracle worker.
Exercise, activity, any movement delivers fast relief. Sadly they are the most under-prescribed medication that everyone can do. No gym or expensive exercise equipment needed. The more you sit, the more anxious or depressed you'll be. Move more and the less anxious and depressed you'll feel. It's just that simple.
Reduces Cancer Risk
Studies indicate that the dangers of sitting too much increase your chances of developing some types of cancer, including but not limited to breast, lung, and colon cancers. The reason? Staying moderately active improves immunity. On the flip side, over-exercising, pushing your body too hard lowers it.
One more reason to keep it simple, move more, sit less, and I guarantee you'll feel more like lifting those weights that have been collecting dust.
Helps Prevent Heart Disease
Not moving our bodies enough, sitting for prolonged periods of time, has been linked to heart disease. It's proven that the more TV you watch, the more you sit, and the higher risk of dying from cardiovascular disease.
Studies now show that low activity levels, sitting and or lying in bed for as little as five days, can lead to elevated blood sugar levels and increased insulin resistance, making it harder to lose weight. Inactivity causes blood sugars to become elevated to unhealthy levels. The more you sit, the higher your blood sugar levels.
Did you know that research suggests that people who spend more time sitting have a 112% higher risk of diabetes. The best way to lose weight and burn fat is to lower blood sugar levels!
Move more and sit less. Sitting for long periods can lead to varicose and spider veins (a smaller version of verifies veins). Sitting causes blood to pool in your legs. While varicose veins aren’t usually dangerous, they can lead to blood clots, which can cause serious problems, leading to deep vein thrombosis.
Regardless of how busy we all are, we ALL NEED to reduce our sedentary behaviors. It's as simple as swapping them out with other behavioral modifications.
Here are some simple action swaps!
- Clean and tidy up more frequently and throw items away in more frequent small trips versus taking items all together.
- Set a timer on your television watching and internet usage, and be sure to turn them all off at least an hour earlier. You'll sleep better and feel more refreshed, have more time built-in to MOVE MORE and SIT LESS!
- Walk and or pace when you’re on the phone.
- Stand up and do some ironing during your favorite television shows.
- Instead of sitting down to read, listen to recorded books while you walk, clean, or work in the garden.
- Stand up when on the train or speaking to colleagues, waiting for appointments like the doctor (who always runs late).
- Stand up while you read emails or reports; make it a habit!
- Move your printer or garbage further away from your desk, so you have to get up to throw anything away or grab printing.
- Use the speaker phone for conference calls and walk around the room during the calls, or walk down the street.
If you need help modifying your movement, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you’re new to physical activity or if you have a health condition, speak to your doctor before you start any new activities. They can help you decide the best activities for you.
- Lisa Lynn