ALWAYS BE MOVING: This is the No. 7 of Eleven Commandments of Fitness for the modern athlete as printed in the October issue of Outside magazine. It is a special fitness issue where self-experimentation was a factor in determining what approach works best for you. They’ve broken down the latest research related to health and fitness into a set of commandments. The seventh focuses on the importance of movement. Not just the time we spend at the gym but the frequent movements our bodies require for optimal health.
SITTING is BAD for you.
I know, I know! Most of us have heard about the studies revealing how a sedentary lifestyle is a detriment to our health. Headlines exclaimed how one hour of sitting increase the chances of heart disease by 14%. If you sit for more than three hours expect your life expectancy to be cut off by two years and the list of health issues goes on and on. Yet even after this news flash, people are still glued to their chairs with glazed eyes staring at computer screens. I understand that when you’re in the midst of a deadline or completely involved with the work you do, it’s hard to step away and take a break. But the message has been delivered and it’s time to take action.
STANDING isn’t great either.
What became the solution to the ‘Sitting Disease’? The emergence of standing workstations. While a standing desk eliminates the sedentary habit of sitting, unfortunately it also introduces a new set of issues when you’re not informed of the proper way to use it. The number 1 and 2 mistakes as discussed in a US News article was standing all day and standing still.
Standing for an extended period of time contributes to low back pain. This is what I experienced during my time in the Navy. A significant part of my job was ‘standing watch’ on the quarterdeck when the ship was inport or on the bridge (ship’s command and control station) while underway. I literally stood at least 4 to 6 hours and sometimes even more! I remember after several months, I started to feel pain in my lower back. It bothered me enough to see a doctor about it. Part of it was due to bad posture and flat feet, but ultimately the solution was to move more.
Exercise ≠ Immunity
Are you aware that even with exercise, sitting can still negatively impact your health? Let’s say you go for a run in the morning but then spend the rest of the day settled in your chair or sitting during your commute or while you’re eating lunch. You might take a few breaks but you end up sitting at least eight hours. The benefits from the run in the morning has already been negated by being sedentary. Our bodies are designed for movement and when it’s not utilized in that manner, certain functions such as the breakdown of fat and sugar is slowed down hence increasing the risk for chronic diseases ie. obesity, diabetes, heart disease. Again the solution, in addition to your regular exercise is the practice of daily movement.
Make MOVING a HABIT
Whether you’re starting or changing a habit, it’s up to you to make movement a part of your day. Nowadays there are Fitbits, Apple watches as well as apps to remind us to move more. One app is aptly named Move – Daily activity to stay healthy and was used by the person who wrote the article as he experimented with incorporating a total of three hours of movement from 7am to 5:45pm. You can set the app to remind you when and what type of workouts to do throughout the day. I’ve never tried it but plan to now that I know about it.
As a stay-at-home mom of two (with the blog as my side project/hobby and currently in the works to launch a new website to offer my services) it’s not as hard for me to find the time to move throughout the day. But I can see how it could be a challenge for someone who is at a desk-bound job. Changing or starting a habit is a process after all and it will take time. I believe that small and simple changes can lead to sustainable results. Three hours of movement is a huge undertaking so take it down a few notches to maybe 30 minutes broken down to a minute here and there throughout the day.
Be the ODDBALL.
If you do any of the movements showed on the Outside article, chances are your co-workers will look at you and wonder what the heck you’re doing!? Hey, let them question you. Bring awareness to people who are reluctant to change. You can be the ‘Movement Trendsetter’! Start a movement revolution at your workplace. Easier said than done right? However, you shouldn’t be embarrassed. You’ve decided to take better care of yourself so the opinion of others shouldn’t matter. Just keep MOVING!
Are you aware as to how many hours you spend sitting? Do you take movement breaks?
I am linking up with DC Trifecta ladies – Courtney at Eat Pray Run DC, Mar at Mar on the Run, and Cynthia at You signed up for What for their Friday Five. Also linking with Jill Conyers, Fitness Health and Happiness.