First and foremost I’ll start off by saying this; sitting on your butt all day can be more dangerous than being obese.
For the first time in almost two hundred years, the average life expectancy in North America is beginning to decline. The United States in 2015 saw it’s overall death rate rise by 1.2%. Heart disease and cancer were the most common causes, accounting for nearly half of all deaths. It is true that cancer deaths are declining, but deaths from all other causes, including heart and lung diseases, strokes, and diabetes are all on the rise. All of these diseases are directly linked to what is known as a “sedentary lifestyle or sitting disease.” This lack of physical activity and exercise is responsible for twice as many deaths as obesity.
Let’s rewind to two centuries ago; the start of the industrial revolution. During that time period we saw the invention of engines and motor vehicles, electricity, etc. Fast forward to the 1920’s and the invention of television. A few more decades, we then find that computers and televisions became a core part of most households and workplace environments. In 2013 79% of worldwide households were found to have a television. Studies now indicate that the average American sits down for approximately 13 hours a day, and sleeps for 8 hours a day. That’s a sedentary lifestyle of 21 hours a day. There was a time where being sedentary was something for the elite. Sitting all day, overeating, these were things reserved for Kings and Queens. There was no turning on a tap and watching water come out. One would have to walk to a river, or pull water from a well. There was no driving to and from work, or hopping on a train for several km across town. We walked, we ran, we climbed up on horses. Eating in and of itself was a task. From farming and hunting, to cleaning the food we hunted, as supposed to walking into a store and popping something in the microwave. Life looks a little bit different today than it did for the last several thousand years.
Made to MOVE
We have designed our lifestyles to move as LITTLE as possible. The problem with that is THE HUMAN BODY IS DESIGNED TO MOVE! With our obsession for comfort, comes the rise of chronic disease. This is where we need to redefine the fitness industry. It’s not about looking like a body builder or athlete on the cover of Time magazine. Neither is this a petition to get you to think about becoming the next swimsuit model on Sports Illustrated. Health and fitness affects everyone and is for everyone. What we eat, how we live, these are things that left unchecked are tipping the scales when it comes to our quality of life and how long we live!
Time for Change!
There are multiple studies and articles that can go into greater detail regarding all the negative effects on the body that sitting/ “sitting disease” can cause. But I want to leave you with a couple of practicals that you can incorporate into your life.
- Stand! Our bodies were made to stand. So believe it or not, sitting constantly is actually stressful on the body, causing muscles to shorten, and mobility to decrease, as well as the development of chronic pain. Every thirty minutes to an hour get up. Walk around a little bit, move some stuff at your desk, etc.
- Exercise! If your job requires you to sit for 6 hours a day, the recommended amount of 2.5 hours of vigour activity is NOT enough to offset the negative effects of sitting. A new study coming out of Norway shows that people who sit for more than 8 hours a day, but who also exercise for 60 to 75 minutes a day, are NOT at an increased risk for early death. Working out is vital. Even if you can’t get to the gym 7 days a week, something is better than nothing.
- Last but not least, here are a bunch of “life hacks to help: a) Stretch Daily! b) Take all phone calls on your feet c) Park your car and walk further away from your destination d) Take the stairs instead of the elevator.
Looking for Help:
If you’re reading this article and thinking you need to make changes to your life but have no idea where to start, give us a shout with your name and email so we can put together a routine and exercise plan for you based on YOUR body to help you change your life!