Live a life less sedentary and continue your adventures!
We’ve all read that sitting is the new smoking and will send you to an early grave, but what is it we are really talking about here?
It’s not just the sitting, but our sedentary lifestyles and what we do all day every day that are the leading cause not only of an increased mortality rate but (worse??) of all those injuries you bring to us. Everything from runner’s knee to hip pain, back injuries, neck pain, shoulder impingements and way more.
We can pretty much attribute the lot to the multiple hours we spend in a single static position every day.
And before you think this doesn’t apply to you cos you train 10 hours a week running or cycling or Crossfit etc think again… There are 112 awake hours in the week (allowing for 8 hours sleep per night) and you move your butt for 10 of them… Hmmm you do the math!
All day every day we (at Bodyneed) see the aches and pains of a life spent sitting (or in static body positions) – the injuries you bring us from running or boot-camps that are also just the end result of sitting all day (weakening your glutes, tightening your hip flexors creating instability and imbalance that you then exacerbate when you exercise). We nag you to do your rehab exercises, your stretches and to exercise more or just get out and walk in your lunch breaks.
But how hard is it to find yet another hour in the day to do all this stuff?
Well what if I said don’t exercise more all you have to do is MOVE more? You don’t need to find any more hours in your super busy day – just utilise the ones you already have.
When I first started researching the topic of our sedentary lives and what it is doing to us I thought this kind of stuff doesn’t concern me personally; I teach (standing and moving) 15 hours a week and am super active with Pilates, CrossFit and hiking – I’m not chained to a desk 9-5 so it’s not about me right?
Well, my ratio of movement to sedentary may be tipped slightly better than your average office workers BUT when I calculated my sit time it still amounted to over 75% of my life – I am sedentary for about 9 hours every day and move for around 7 hours every day.
Yep on an average day I sit for breakfast, sit in my car, teach a class, sit and do some computer work, teach a class, sit and eat lunch, do some Pilates and training, sit at my desk again, teach some classes, sit in my car to drive back home, sit for dinner and sit in front of the TV for a couple of hours before sitting in bed to read before sleeping! I’ve even been known to bargain with myself – ‘do your CrossFit class then you get to veg out for the rest of the day!’
Sound familiar? ... Come on, I know I’m not the only one! Now add up your own ratio and be prepared to be horrified at how we have outsourced pretty much ALL of our body’s natural movement.
Ok – so what?? What’s so bad about not moving? Is it really all bad news?
“Sitting is more dangerous than smoking, kills more people than HIV and is more treacherous than parachuting. We are sitting ourselves to death”.
Dr James Levine, director of the Mayo Clinic-Arizona State University Obesity Solutions Initiative
While there is some conflict on the how’s and the why’s most of the research agrees that a sedentary life is not working in our favour – here are the stats of a sedentary life:
Accounts for 3.8% of all-cause mortality
Increased likelihood of obesity
Increased risk of diabetes
Increased risk of various cancers (I know what doesn’t increase our risk of cancer!)
Creates imbalances in our muscles and joints that lead to pain and injuries and can then make being more active even harder!
Leads to weakness and atrophy in muscles and joints that leads to injury
Increased chance of spinal injuries and back pain
BUT it’s not all bad – if you like most of us are chained to a desk all day don’t despair!
Sorting this problem out doesn’t have to mean adding more actual exercise into your week… Think about how you can move during all those times you are currently sitting.
It’s actually super easy:
The most obvious is your workstation and if you have already transitioned to a standing desk – well done! But be careful as standing all day in one position can be just as bad as sitting. Try standing on uneven surfaces, take your shoes off, stand on that wobble board you bought years ago or your foam roller – be creative with the stuff you have.
Change position regularly from sitting to standing, wriggling etc. – set an alarm for every 15 minutes to remind you to MOVE again.
If you have the opportunity to work on a laptop and can move around your office; set up a squatting station – low to the ground (coffee table or cardboard box) just squat the same way you would for peeing in the bush (knees facing forward).
Take your laptop into a meeting room and lie on the floor for a bit, or cross legs or on your tummy.
Now think about outside the office – anywhere you currently drive could you actually walk instead?
Summers almost here – try eating in the garden on a picnic blanket on the grass or do the same indoors.
Take a wee walk after every meal – great for digestion (and gas!) and gets you out of the post meal funk.
Try squatting in front of the TV – you might have to do this for short periods at first.
PLUS did you know that just standing burns a whopping 50 calories more per hour – that could be an extra 400 calories a day! What more incentive do you need?
So if you currently exercise/train for 3-6 hours per week and love it don’t change that, just add in more movement in between. Another great bonus as an athlete is your body recovers far quicker after big training sessions and there is way less stiffening up when you don’t collapse in a sitting heap all day.
If you are someone who struggles with fitting any ‘exercise’ in at all this is an awesome way forward for you – yay no more guilt at not loving ‘sport’!
For more information and great ideas to implement more movement into your day keep an eye on our blog as we transition Bodyneed into a moving business… Next challenge is to modify our front desk!
Oh and in case you were wondering, yes I did stand and squat and wriggle while writing and researching this article!