Sitting Still

According to studies performed in the University of Minnesota in 2006, of the previous 20 years, people have reportedly still exercised the same amount, but have increased their amount of time spent sitting on their bums by 8%. This is a fairly drastic increase. The study also suggests that just because you are lifting weights sculpting those perfect biceps and pecs, if you are increasing the amount of time you spend sitting on the couch or at the desk, you’re increasing the chances of an early death. Which is not good at all.

Apparently another study was performed where the participants lived in a setting of the 1850, and their movement was measured and recorded. It turns out that on average they walked an extra 3-8 miles compared to today’s average human.

sitting

Studies studies studies.

Another study in the 2010 Journal of Applied Physiology showed that by reducing the number of footsteps taken by 85% for two weeks, the participants reduced their sensitivity to insulin by 17%, which in turn means that the risk for diabetes has increased. Clearly this is not a good thing. Clearly the way to reduce health risks and increase your lifetime is to get those feet moving, to stay active more, and longer.

As I have described in more detail in the short spurts, getting exercise more throughout the day is much more healthy than one 30 minutes a day. Studies have proven that people that keep active doing partial exercise events like walking to the mail, standing up during work hours, and doing the dishes burn significantly more calories than those who run 35 miles a week. So this means when you’re feeling down and out, tired at the end of the day, it is just as crucial then to stay alert and active than it is to finish the last 5 minutes at the gym.

168. Man Sitting at The Metropolitan Museum of Art 9-9-2008

Peter Katzmarzyk, Ph.D., a professor at Pennington Biomedical Research Center, Louisiana says “Regularly exercising is not the same as being active.” Referring to the person who goes to the gym for an hour a day, but for the other 23 hrs of the day is sitting around watching tv or surfing the internet. This leads to the definition of an active lifestyle. Yes you may be going to the gym, but you are not living an active lifestyle. “A person may hit the gym every day, but if he’s sitting a good deal of the rest of the time, he’s probably not leading an overall active life,” explains Katzmarzyk. “The evidence that sitting is associated with heart disease is very strong, we see it in people who smoke and people who don’t. We see it in people who are regular exercisers and those who aren’t. Sitting is an independent risk factor.”

Bill Hartman, P.T., C.S.C.S., a Men’s Health advisor and physical therapist in Indianapolis, Indiana, says “If you’ve ever seen a guy walk with a forward lean, it’s often because of shortened hip flexors. The muscles don’t stretch as they naturally should. As a result, he’s not walking tall and straight because his fascia has adapted more to sitting than standing.”

SittingDuck1

This same concept applies to all parts of your body. The more your body stays in one position, the more it will ‘set’ into that form. This is why things like your pillow at night, which you spend approximately 1/4 – 1/3 of your day doing, and also the chair that you sit in and the posture that you hold while your in it. It turns out your mother telling you to straighten your back and fix your posture wasn’t just because she was nit-picking, but actually because she wanted you to grow strong and straight!

Thanks mom!

To suggest a few things to do to avoid these complications I have compiled a list of things you should try and work into your busy schedule, no matter what your doing or how silly you may feel doing it:

  1. Try and take transit, or walk whenever you can, avoid the car!
  2. If you’ve been sitting at your desk for a while, get up and walk around! (a trick I use here is to drink lots of water during the day so that you already have to get up to go to the washroom regularily).
  3. Pace while talking on the phone.
  4. Find enjoyment in doing activities around the house (painting, cooking, cleaning, fixing).
  5. Find excuses to go outside! There’s always something fun to do out there.

stretching

If any of you have any ideas on other ways to increase activity level, please let us know!

Good luck out there

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