We all know that cigarettes are bad for us. But there is now evidence showing that a sedentary lifestyle can be just as detrimental to our health.
Several studies have found that prolonged sitting makes us more prone to heart disease — which is already the leading killer of Americans — as well as cancer, obesity, diabetes, and even premature death.
We’ve always known that sitting for long stretches of time can make us more vulnerable to some serious issues and ailments. But now these studies reveal even more bad news: that a sedentary lifestyle is nearly as harmful to our health as cigarette smoking, which is the single most preventable cause of disease, disability, and death in the United States.
These findings are all the more alarming because they come on the heels of other studies a few blog posts ago indicating that long periods of time spent sitting in our cars and offices are significant factors in the obesity epidemic sweeping the United States. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than two-thirds of Americans are overweight, and a third are considered obese.
It’s all an unfortunate cycle: a sedentary lifestyle leads to obesity, yet those feeling overweight tend to lack the energy to get up and move. All of this being well-known, well-documented factors contributing to the rise in heart disease, diabetes, and some types of cancer.
Present day statistics show that 40 to 50 million Americans have sedentary jobs, which don’t allow them to get the recommended amount of at least 30 minutes of moderately intensive physical activity five days a week. Add this to research indicating that 60 percent of Americans don’t exercise enough and over 25 percent are not active at all, and what you get is a recipe for disaster.
If your life has you frequently in situations where prolonged sitting is necessary — for example, in a workplace — you may want to think about “sneaking-in” some exercise to offset the inactivity.
The #1 option would be to make time to exercise — maybe before or after work or during the lunch hour — can literally be a real life saver.
On top of that, I highly recommend fitting some “mini-workouts” into the daily work routine. For example:
- Make a habit of taking stairs instead of the elevator — or, better yet, run up and down. If you do it several times a day, every day, it’ll add up.
- When you’re out of the office, resist the urge to take your car, especially for short distances. Walk to your destination and back quickly enough to get your heart rate up.
- After work, don’t “relax” in front of TV or the computer. If you finally have a bit of free time, use it for some form of physical activity, not to sit around some more.
As you can see, these aren't really "workouts." Its just a recipe to move more.
If you need help getting a real workout program kick-started, you may want to think about hiring some professional help.
The point of this post is that it really doesn't matter what you do, just as long as you do something. The name of the game is to lessen the amount of time we spend on our arses. It can save your life!