In the 14th
Century it was the Bubonic Plague,
In the 19th
Century, repeated outbreaks of Cholera.
In the 20th
Century Polio ravaged the world until Jonas Salk had his say.
And in the 21st
Century (drumroll please) the Sitting Epidemic. Sure it’s a first world problem, but it’s still a real
problem. Sitting is slowly killing all of us and there’s nothing we can do about it! Ok maybe not so much killing as harming but there is definitely nothing we can do about it. Well except maybe exercise more at greater intervals.
That’s right, according to the American Heart Association, the Sitting Epidemic is contributing to a deterioration in overall heart health. It used to be that 30 minutes of moderate activity five days a week was enough to stay healthy. But due to our sedentary lifestyles the ol’ half-hour-a-day just isn’t cutting it anymore.1
There’s this smart fella up in Canada, Dr. David Alter, who is a senior scientist at the Toronto Rehabilitation Institute. According to him, we Americans are spending half of our lives or more sitting down. In Dr. Alter’s recent study, he found that individuals who spend extended periods of time being sedentary are at a higher risk for cancer, heart disease and death from any cause even if they get the amount of exercise recommended by the AHA.2
So, how do we keep from becoming another seated statistic? To be healthier in this sedentary world, one must break up the seated time with small bursts of light-to-moderate activity. So to help you we’ve devised a few easy approaches.
The Exercise-As-You-Go Approach
This approach is for the person who wants to be Jillian-Michaels-fit but has an outlook calendar that’s stuffed tighter than fresh baked manicotti (also mmm…manicotti No wait! That’s nothing but carbs. FOCUS!!!). It’s simple. Instead of taking the elevator, take the stairs. Better yet, take them two at a time. Know what? You better go ahead and frog-jump them three at a time if you want maximum impact. Going to a meeting? Offer to carry everyone’s laptops for added weight, now lunge walk all the way there. Your calves will be blasted in no time AND
you’ll get that promotion next quarter. See, you can
have it all.
The Feng Shui Approach
So you want to workout at the office but you don’t want to be so overt about it. And, in actuality, you’d really rather spend your precious free minutes on Pinterest. Well, this combines the best of both worlds. Every morning simply make up an excuse to redecorate your space. Bring in a new chair. Maybe a large potted plant. Flip your desk so it’s aligned with the chakras of the room. Sound like a lot of work? Well, who said surviving the sit-pocalypse would be easy? Plus lifting furniture is great for your lats (whatever those are).
The Over-Hydration Approach
This method gives you sort of a two-for-one punch of health. Step 1: Drink lots of water. No, not that much, WAY more. Whatever amount of water you’re thinking about; double it. No. Triple it! This way you’ll no. 1) get tons of sweet, sweet hydration and no. 2) constantly be getting up to go no. 1. All that extra walking is sure to fight the sedentary blues. And all that extra tinklage? Well, that’s the building custodians problem (sorry, Chuck).
The Fitness Tracker Approach
If all else fails, conform. Buy in to the trend and buy yourself one of those handy dandy fitness trackers. Now there’s a little robot wrapped around your arm that guilts you to get off your ass every hour and reminds you how much healthier all your friends are. Sure you now live as a slave to the fitness-bots but hey, at least you’re still alive.
The Direct Approach
Font? We asked our resident fitness expert Erica Dahle – former trainer, current content guru – to come up with a killer, modern workout that you can do to be healthier in this world-run-by-chairs. Here’s what she came up with:
The Anti-Sedentary Lifestyle Tabata Desk Workout
Perform each movement for 20 seconds at a moderate-vigorous pace, then rest for 10 seconds. Repeat for 4 minutes total, alternating movements every 20 seconds.
:00-:20 Desk Pushups
:30-:50 Wall Sit Hold
1:00-1:20 Plank Hold
1:30-1:50 Reverse Lunges
When you’re done, wipe the sweat from your brow, drink plenty of water, and start thinking about how you’ll explain to your coworkers that, in fact, they
are the weird ones.
So, there you have it. Five easy ways to maintain a healthy and long life and survive the Sitting Epidemic. After all that, you deserve to take a load off. Why don’t you pull up a chair?
That was a test.
Looks like you’ve got more training to do.
American Heart Association. (2016, July) American Heart Association Recommendations for Physical Activity in Adults
Retrieved from: http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/HealthyLiving/PhysicalActivity/FitnessBasics/American-Heart-Association-Recommendations-for-Physical-Activity-in-Adults_UCM_307976_Article.jsp#.WHjzUrYrKlM
CBC News. (2015, January) Sitting for too long can kill you, even if you exercise: study
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