Real Life Issues: The Sitting Disease Kills
I am practically a sloth…
Sure, I work out most days of the week, whether it’s running, lifting, or doing a bodyweight circuit workout… I move.
Many of us do. But that’s only an hour, or 4% of our day. And to be honest, sometimes it’s not even for that long.
What am I doing for the other 23 hours? Most likely what you’re doing… sitting at a desk to work, sitting down to eat, sitting down to drive my car, laying down to sleep, and well there are a few hours I am actually standing up to teach boot camps.
Yup, just call me Taylor McSloth
Most adults spend 50-70% of their time sitting. That’s so depressing!
What’s more depressing is that we get stir crazy when we sit for too long involuntarily, yet we voluntarily sit when we could be moving.
The point is that even with my fitness lifestyle, I am sitting on my butt far more than I am up moving.
What about you?
Did You Know Sitting Kills?
Here’s a fun fact that I found incredibly interesting:
According to this study published in the NY Times, Every single hour of television watched after the age of 25 reduces the viewer’s life expectancy by 21.8 minutes. What’s more… is that smoking a cigarette reduces life expectancy only by about 11 minutes!
It doesn’t matter if you workout or not, if you sit on the couch for 4 hours each night, your life may be shortened by 87.2 minutes every single day. In a year that’s 31,740.8 minutes shaved from your life.
Crazy? We originally got rid of our television so that we could work more efficiently, I had no idea of this stat. Now, I think Dan ad I are both relieved!
The Sitting Disease
What’s the big problem of sitting down if you exercise regularly and eat a healthy diet?
Here it is: Sitting (in this study it was in front of a tv) for more than 4 hours per day has an increased risk of 80% of dying early due to cardiovascular disease compared to adults who watched less than 2 hours of television per day.
Oh, and regular exercise seems to have no affect.
The only thing that can help is getting up off the couch, out of your computer chair and onto your feet. Move more, live longer. That’s the take away.
Just standing burns 3x the amount of calories than when you sit. Muscles are activated and your body is working to keep you balanced and in control.
You Were Meant To Move
We’re able to walk and move freely because that’s what we’re suppose to do. Muscles become underworked and imbalanced from sitting because it’s not what we’re meant to do. It weakens us and increases our risk of disease, injury, depression, and so much more.
What happens when you sit for too long? You get an irritable and an itch to get up. That’s a sign!
So if we get so flustered from sitting too long, then why do we sit so much?
In top of the physical benefits, there are also mental benefits. People that practice short bursts of exercise are mentally stronger, have better concentration, perform better and are happier. Just another reason to move during your lunch break.
Whats A Fit Gal Suppose To Do?
The generally recommendation is to get 10,000 steps in each day. Or roughly 5 miles.
Sure you can “walk” 5 miles or perhaps you might find some joy in Prancercizing. I mean lets face it, not only is it good for the body but you won’t be able to stop smiling as you prance to work. Am I right, or am I right?
(This is an image, click to see the video it’s worth it!)
Or you can power walk your way around town if you’re in a hurry.
Here’s a story I have never shared with you before… in college I used to take a pys. ed class every semester. One semester I signed up for speed walking. It was a blast! Our 6’5 ex-baseball coach teacher was all into the sport and threatened to fail us if we jogged. To be honest it was a pretty decent workout! I didn’t sport the awesome Malcolm In The Middle outfit above though. Thank goodness.
In all seriousness though…
Unless I am going for a run, there is no way I come close to 10,000 steps per day. Living in a city where driving is a necessity, we are suffering big time. But that doesn’t mean that we just toss in the towel and say, “oh well, guess I’ll go sit down now and be jealous of New Yorkers who can walk every where.”
Nope, we have to do what we can. And it’s a lot more than what I am doing right now. Chances are you too. But, if you do get 10,000 steps in per day, I would love to know! And give you a hug!
How To Get More Movement In
Here are just some ideas to help take the pressure off your tush!
- Walk more (duh). Park the car far away, take the stars, etc. Don’t take the lazy route, no matter how tempting.
- Set a timer. This is one we use… set a timer when ever you’re sitting down for 30 minutes. For every half hour of sitting, get up and spend 3-5 minutes moving. Do lunges around the house, grab a kettlebell, do some push-ups, etc.
- Stand up. Set your computer up on a counter, someplace you can stand and work. If you’re on the phone, get up and walk while on it. Take every opportunity you can to stand on your own 2 feet.
- Activity dates. I know this has been posted in every magazine but it is a great suggestion. Instead of dinner and a movie, opt for dinner and yoga (we recently did this and loved it); or a run with brunch. Don’t let social situations lead to flattening your butt.
- Get creative! I’ll leave this one up to you.
Get Started With Small Goals
Am I all of a sudden going to knock out 10,000 steps tomorrow simply because I am more aware? No.
I will however take steps towards getting there. Concentrating on walking the dog a little further, taking computer breaks to walk outside for some fresh air, and fitting in a mini workout between boot camps instead of going to sit at my office (which I don’t have enough time to actually accomplish anything).
It would be so upsetting to look back over my life which I have always considered active, yet to realize I was just a couch potato. I’m sure you can relate?
How much time do you spend sitting?