According to statisticbrain.com, 44.8% of people who make new year's resolutions keep them past the 6 month mark. So, if you made any promises to yourself for 2017, how are you doing?
One of the resolutions frequently spoken is, "I'm going to get back to the gym." Whether you are currently holding fast to your fitness routine or you let it go after the first 2 weeks, I hope you find the information that I'm about to share as fascinating as I do.
Until recently, anyone exercising 60 minutes or more a day was considered physically active and anyone exercising 10 minutes or less was considered sedentary.
Research is currently building that shows even when you exercise 60+ minutes per day your body can still suffer from too much sitting. Also, there are plenty of people throughout history who stayed fit without a gym membership. In other words, sitting too much is not the same as exercising too little. This new category is known as "active sedentary" or someone who although meeting current exercise guidelines is sedentary for the majority of their day. If you "kill it" in the gym and then spend the rest of your day sitting at your desk, sitting in your car, sitting down to eat and finish off with sitting or lying down to watch TV you pay a price with your health and wellbeing.
Some health consequences of too much sedentary living include:
muscle imbalance and weakness
increased risk of diabetes
The key is to add more non-exercise movement into your day and minimize long periods of sitting. If you are 40 years or older, that's good news because you most likely remember the following activities:
- Walking to school and other locations in your neighborhood.
- Answering the phone often required getting up and walking to it
- Opening your garage without an electric garage door opener.
- Changing the TV channels without a remote
- Hanging clothes on a clothes line instead of putting them into a dryer
- Meeting friends for baseball, volleyball, bowling or camping instead of hanging out on FB.
In the past we had far less convenience and used more of our bones and muscles in our daily activities. That's why there was less obesity and diabetes in generations past even though they rarely had gym memberships. If it's your practice to drive around a parking lot looking for the closest parking spot, driving to the grocery store when it's 3 blocks away, limiting your socializing to sedentary activities, or you wait for someone else to get up so they can bring you something back from the kitchen, you may want to rethink your habits.
Currently life is becoming more convenient/sedentary and it's getting continually easier to stay seated all day long. Your body is begging for you to switch from convenience mode to active mode. Active mode is where you actually search for more ways to stay out of your seat and move your joints in as many configurations as possible. Current recommendations are to limit sitting longer than 20 minutes. Of course, there are times when circumstances require sitting for longer periods of time but do your best to limit these and make activity your default instead of the exception.
Technology is wonderful and I love it as much as everyone else. Our challenge now is to use and enjoy technology while holding fast to what matters most. The concept of "active sedentary" is a relatively new one, although not to past generations and those living in non industrialized communities. Let yourself be inspired by the fact that we can have better fitness levels and health, not from more time in the gym but in using more imagination in the way we carry out our day to day activities. If you need a little nudge, check out the recommended activities at the end of this email for ideas to start your new movement style. Our bodies are amazing, let's get back to the joy of movement we were born with and explore the possibilities.
"Lack of activity destroys the good condition of every human being, while movement and methodical physical exercise save it and preserve it."
"Life is movement. The more life there is, the more flexibility there is. The more fluid you are, the more you are alive."
All the best,
Bodywork, Movement & Holistic Lifestyle Design
Want to take your health to the next level?
Email me at email@example.com, let's talk about solutions.
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recommended beginner activity: Start walking. Start with a 10 minute walk and then gently increase the length of time spent on your daily walk. If you enjoy watching TV, take breaks to stretch, do chores, walk around the block, do laundry....in other words slowly train your body to avoid long periods of staying in one position.
recommended advanced activity: If you regularly spend time on a treadmill switch to an exercise that uses more of your body like yoga, or dancing. Read the following books to learn how the state of your feet affect your entire body: Born to Run by Christopher McDougall, Whole Body Barefoot by Katy Bowman. Better yet, both books are available on audio. Have a listen while taking a long walk or doing some stretching at home.
It's not your age, it's your lifestyle.