You have finally done it!
After months and years of trying, you have a workout routine that works for you. After trying this class and that workout routine, the downloaded workouts from YouTube, or the copied workouts from your Shape magazine (“Women's Health”, “Men's Health”, “Fitness”, etc.), once-and-for-all you have the workouts that fits you.
You are now getting up early, you are skipping the occasional happy hour, or skipping dinners with friends. You signed up for a road race. You seem to be doing everything right. You have it all figured out.
I have some bad news for you. It’s probably not enough.
What?! WAIT! not enough??
No, probably not. Being a human being is tough. That body you are living in requires a lot of maintenance. As amazing a machine as your body is, and all the adaptations it can make, it’s still needs more than 150 minutes of moderate exercise per week.
Have heard that sitting is the new smoking? Probably. Doesn't make much sense, does it? How can you be doing almost everything right and still have it wrong?
Even if you are meeting the exercise requirements, if you sit at a desk all day, you are still considered sedentary. Another term for it: active couch potato.
High amounts of sitting during the day is associated with a higher waist circumference, and elevated blood pressure. Sitting also affects your cholesterol, can cause muscular skeletal problems and lead to premature death. (worst case scenario is always death.)
Five hour plus of sitting time also slows your metabolism, affects bone mineral content and vascular health. There are a few other more clinical terms I could insert here but I think you have the idea.
Fortunately, there is an easy fix for this and no special equipment is required. Add activity to break up your sitting time:
- Drink water
- You hate to drink water because it makes you need to use the restroom. That is my point. Get up & go. Find the furthest bathroom from your desk and drink often.
- Stand up
- I know you talk on the phone during the day or sit in on conference calls. During the call stay on your feet. You don't have to stay up for the duration of the call, just some of it. Another good one is to stand for all calls. When the phone rings, personal or otherwise, stand up to answer. If it’s a short call stay up through its entirety.
- Set a timer
- If you have a Fitbit or an Apple Watch or something of the like, they have built in reminders to get you up throughout the course of the day. When it reminds you to stand, stand and move a little bit. If you don't have a wearable device, set a timer on your phone to move every hour you sit at your desk.
- Park your car at the back of the parking lot if you drive to work. Take the stairs (be reasonable, you don't have to walk to the 22nd floor) maybe just two flights then jump on the elevator.
- Take public transportation. Studies have found if you do, you tend to sit less. plus, you must walk to the bus/train station.
Off work time counts too. Your most sedentary time maybe in the evening or the weekend. If you find yourself in front of the television over the weekend or in the evening binge watching Netflix. Take the 20 seconds needed rollover into the next episode to stand. If you are DVR-ing, stand up to fast forward or (god forbid) you let the commercial run and stand through them. Hell, you could even move around a bit.
And always before you sit, sit twice. Before the end of the day you may have just added 3 set of 10 squats to your daily routine. A hint here, don't flop onto the chair or the sofa. Use some muscle to get there.
These small activities during the day add up and improve cognitive function. If you are not quite getting all your steps in during the day, you may see a marked improvement.
Congratulations on coming up with the exercise routine. You put a lot of work into finding exactly what is right for you so you can be consistent. Don't let a little thing like television or work get in the way of overall great health. Just take that one more step.