Too Much Sitting is No Good
Recent research has shown that the more sedentary your lifestyle, a.k.a.
sitting too much, the more negatively it affects your health. A study
conducted in 2009 suggested the following, "prolonged bouts of sitting time
and lack of whole-body muscular movement are strongly associated with
obesity, abnormal glucose metabolism, diabetes, metabolic syndrome,
cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk and cancer as well as total mortality
"are" independent of moderate to vigorous-intensity physical activity."
What does this all mean?
You Got to Move It
What researchers found was that too much sitting can negate exercise based
health gains. Just by spending less time sitting, you can significantly
improve your health and reinforce your efforts at the gym. Researchers
found that for "each 1-hour increase in sitting time watching television
increased the prevalence of the metabolic syndrome in women by 26%,
independent of the amount of moderate to vigorous-intensity physical
exercise performed. This was approximately the same quantity of decreased
risk (28%) of the metabolic syndrome that was induced by 30 minutes of
extra physical exercise."
What This All Means
The authors have discovered an important premise when it comes to your
health and activity levels. They agree that exercise based physical
activity improves your health in many ways. No one argues this point any
more. What they were also able to show was that non-exercise activity was
as important to your health as structured exercise. Examples of
non-exercise based activity include using the stairs, housework, walking to
the copier or bathroom and walking instead of using a car. The authors
found that the more non-exercise activity incorporated into your daily
life, the less chance you have of developing the diseases mentioned above.
Activity Substitutions Can Boost Health
The authors of this study are NOT saying that you should stay in constant
motion during the day. Sleep, resting and daily naps are all still very
good health practices as is going to a gym to workout. What they are
suggesting is that your health can be significantly improved by just moving
a little bit more during the day. They also say that when creating a
healthy activity plan, it is important to look at activity levels both
outside and inside the health club. So to maximize your health, try these
simple activity substitutions:
1. Climb the stairs rather than using elevators and escalators
2. Take a 5 minute active break, like going to the copier or a bathroom
break, every hour during sedentary work.
3. Walk to the store or to lunch rather than taking a car.
4. Rake leaves rather than use a leaf blower.
5. Shovel snow instead of using a snow blower
Finally, remember to include 150 minutes of moderate-intensity physical
exercise a week. That comes down to about 30 minutes, 5 days a week.