Tuesday, August 28, 2012

New Disease Called Sedentarianism

I've been talking about it for awhile and sometimes I know I sound like a broken record, but we have to stop sitting around.  
  • We sit at the table and eat our meals or sit in a chair and eat our snacks.  
  • We sit in cars and commute to work, run errands, and shuttle our children.
  • We sit at our desk and work all day.
  • We sit at our computer and do "social networking", surf the web, or shop online.
  • We sit down to relax.
  • We sit down to watch TV or play video games.
  • Finally, at the end of the day, we lay down and sleep.

Have you ever counted all the hours you spend sitting/laying down?  That's exactly what I did yesterday.  And here's my results for a 24 hour time period:
  • 8 hours sleeping
  • 2 hours sculling (my newest sport)
  • 4 hours walking "to and from" various places
  • 1 hour walking the dog (4x/day 15 min each)
  • 1 hour playing in the water
  • 3 hours eating meals (sitting)
  • 3 hours working on the computer (sitting)
  • 1 hour quiet time (meditation)
  • 1 hour travelling by car (sitting)
 The total amount of time I spent "sitting/sleeping" was 15 hours.  The remainder of my time, 9 hours, was spent "active".   

The following video, 23 1/2 hours, by Dr. Mike Evans (myfavouritemedicine.com) is my favorite video and I think it should be required viewing by every child in school and every grownup whose ever battled weight gain, hypertension, heart disease, joint pain, diabetes, and/or high cholesterol.

We, in the fitness community, fight so very hard to get our clients to exercise just 30 minutes a day.  It feels like we're pushing a bus uphill.  Really, why is getting people to move so difficult?   When the ACSM (American College of Sports Medicine) recommends a minimum of 30 minutes of moderate intensity exercise 5 days a week, that's a total of 150 minutes a week, why can't we get people to do even the minimum?  If I could persuade you with the facts:
  • Adults who watch more than 6 hours of television (computers/screens) a day live 5 years less.  The average adult in the United States watches 5 hours a day.
  • Low fitness is the strongest predictor of death:  no hypertension, high cholesterol, obesity, diabetes or smoking.
  • An active obese individual fares much better than an inactive obese individual.
  • Individuals who walked 10 minutes a day had no change to their health, compared to individuals who walked 11-20 minutes decreased their risk of hypertension by 12%, while individuals who walked greater than 21 minutes decreased their risk of hypertension by 29%.
  • Individuals who received a stent (for clogged arteries) fared 18% better post surgery if they exercised than those who did not exercise.
Dr. Mike Evans' point is "Can we limit ourselves to just 23 1/2 hours of sitting?  Please?"  As a Personal Trainer and Coach, I could ask my clients to exercise a minimum of 30 minutes a day, 5 days a week.  Perhaps, however, I should ask them to limit their sitting time to 23 1/2 hours.  Why?  BECAUSE SITTING KILLS and EXERCISE SAVES LIVES!

My thanks to Dr. Mike Evans, myfavouritemedicine.com

Please take a look at your own habits and write down or comment back to me how much time you spend sedentary.  I hope you're "sitting" less than 23 1/2 hours.


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