I’m sure you’ve heard it said, that the key to optimal health is diet and exercise. We are 80%
what we eat. If we want to lose an additional 20% weight, or maintain a healthy weight, exercise is key. If you’re like many Americans, you may not be a fan of exercise. Exercise often conjures up images of working out at the gym every day and/or hiring a personal trainer. Although both are great options if you enjoy going to the gym and you have the means to hire a personal trainer, they are not necessary for optimal health.
I want you to think of exercise in terms of moving more throughout your day by adding steps. If you lead a mostly sedentary life, due to your job or lifestyle, you may be thinking, “adding steps is all well and good, but it’s unrealistic.” Let me share some information that may cause you to reconsider your lifestyle choices.
It’s no surprise that smoking can cause cancer. Research has shown for years, the adverse effects of smoking. Did you know that sitting is now considered the new smoking or cancer? You may be skeptical; here are the facts.
According to Dell Dorn, of DORN Innovative Healthcare Solutions, the health risks for prolonged sitting include the following:
1) Sitting lowers circulation and metabolism. Lack of circulation can lead to blood clots, a higher risk for heart disease, and a greater chance of contracting diabetes. A slower metabolism can cause weight gain.
2) There is an increased risk of colon and breast cancer, due to prolonged sitting. Studies show a 40% decrease in cancer mortality in those who are physically active.
3) Prolonged sitting can affect mental health, increase fatigue and stress levels, and lower productivity. You’re at a greater risk for depression when you are sedentary.
4) Sitting impacts posture and spine health. The muscles that support your back and neck can become weak and stiff. Prolonged sitting can cause chronic lower back pain.
5) Sitting time cannot be undone. Our bodies are designed to move. When we sit for a prolonged period of time, day after day, our organs begin to shut down. If you work out every day for an hour, but are sedentary the remainder of the day, you do more damage to your health, than not working out but moving consistently throughout the day. Ideally, you should move every hour.
If you take away anything from this blog post, remember this, our bodies are designed to move, ideally every hour, for optimal health. If you have a desk job, pace while taking phone calls. Get up and walk around your office or home every hour. At the very least, do a series of stretches every hour. As you move more, not only will you improve your health and flexibility, but you’ll feel better. If you move enough, you’ll lose weight, or maintain your weight.