Up until recently, I felt pretty good about the level of physical activity I was getting in. Even with a 9-5, I was able to make it out for a run or to the gym on a regular basis, take my dog out for walks, and even spent leisure time hiking around Town Lake or doing other activities that got my heart rate up and made me sweat. So imagine my shock when I started seeing more research on how even if you are “active” (i.e. you work out 30 minutes 5 or more times per week), you probably are STILL too sedentary and not getting enough physical activity to prevent disease, such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease, cancer, or even depression.
Check out this quote from a top exercise physiologist and physical activity researcher (quote taken from the Runner’s World July 2013 Issue):
“Up until very recently, if you exercised for 60 minutes or more a day, you were considered physically active, case closed,” says Travis Saunders, a Ph.D. student and certified exercise physiologist at the Healthy Active Living and Obesity Research Group at Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario. “Now a consistent body of emerging research suggests it is entirely possible to meet current physical activity guidelines while still being incredibly sedentary, and that sitting increases your risk of death and disease, even if you are getting plenty of physical activity. It’s a bit like smoking. Smoking is bad for you even if you get lots of exercise. So is sitting too much.”
If you aren’t completely terrified and/or concerned yet, here’s more bad news:
-Per the American College of Sports Medicine, people are about 30 percent LESS active overall on days when they exercise versus days they don’t participate in physical activity
-People spend around 9.3 hours per day on their ass, while averaging only 7.7 hours sleeping (research found on www.wired.com)
-A study of 3,757 women found that for every two hours they sat in a given work day, their risk for developing type 2 diabetes went up 7% percent, which means their risk is 56 % higher on days they sit for eight hours or more
-Sitting too much can even increase your risk of death! A 12-year study of about 17,000 Canadians adults, researchers found that the more time people spent sitting, the earlier they died—regardless of age, their weight, or how much they exercised.
-According to Dr. James Levine of the Mayo Clinic, “Simply by standing, you burn three times as many calories as you do sitting. Muscle contractions, including the ones required for standing, seem to trigger important processes related to the breakdown of fats and sugars. When you sit down, muscle contractions cease and these processes stall.”
So what’s a health conscious person to do aside from moving a treadmill desk into your cubicle (yes these do actually exist)? The answer is simple: just MOVE. Taking regular physical activity breaks and incorporating more movement throughout the day can improve your health – NOT simply logging more time at the gym.
Here are just a few ways to incorporate more physical activity into your daily routine:
- Set an alarm on your phone to remind you to get up and take walking breaks every 60-90 minutes. Yes the workday won’t always permit for you to get up and move every hour, but the more you can make it happen, the better
- Ask your coworkers to take “walk and talk” meetings vs. sitting down in a conference room. Bonus: the fresh air and change of scenery can help energize you and stimulate creativity
- You’ve heard it a million times before, but it bears repeating: take the stairs, park your car at the back of the parking lot so you have to walk further, walk to the store to run errands when possible, wear a pedometer to encourage you to take more steps per day, do calisthenics during TV commercial breaks, etc.
- Get your coworkers in on the act: have a contest for who you can the most pushups per day, or have wall sit competitions…whatever you can think of to add in that extra activity!
- In addition to your workouts, try saving your favorite TV shows for the gym or watch them at home on the treadmill to keep you moving
- Just remember, when there’s a will, there’s a way: for the past 3 days I’ve challenged myself to do 50 squats before hopping in the shower, which only takes a few minutes, but helps add up to move activity (and hopefully a better ass. Hey a girl can dream…). Make mini challenges for yourself, or share with friends
- Talk to your boss about taking scheduled activity breaks – getting your superior in on the act helps create a healthy work culture, which makes being active that much more easier
Please, please, PLEASE send me more ideas…I love trying out new ideas or sharing them here or with friends.
So with that said, I’m outta here to go foam roll and take my puppy for a mini walk :) Still crossing my fingers for one of those treadmill desks though…
Stay ACTIVE and AMAZING,
P.S. Thank you for all the Facebook love on the Get a Word in Veg Wise Facebook page! I try to post not only the links to the new posts, but lots of other ideas, tips, tricks, and inspiration to keep on living that healthy lifestyle. If you haven’t checked it out, go to “Get a Word in Veg Wise” on Facebook and give it a like if you wanna show me and those I work with some love (https://www.facebook.com/GetAWordInVegWise)