Get Off Your A$$!
For those of you who haven’t heard: Sitting is the new smoking. So get up!
Every major fitness, health, and medical resource has come out against sitting in one of the most fascinating and unified stances to rock the fitness world since the publication of calorie counts. From muscular degeneration, circulatory problems, and organ damage – just to name a few – the litany of health problems associated with inactivity is staggering.
Is this surprising? We are all educated, modern adults who understand the value of exercise, right? We go to the gym in the morning or take walks in the evening. But that’s not enough, say the studies. In fact, being sedentary for long periods of time is so bad for you, that it’s actually healthier to move regularly throughout the day, than run like crazy for 30 minutes at the gym before sitting still for the entire workday.
The solution is simple, even if you have a desk job: Try to move every 20-30 minutes. If you’re in a meeting, pace up and down the boardroom. If you’re working on a presentation, get up every half hour and climb a flight of stairs. Even fidgeting in your chair has been shown to be beneficial—at least you’re moving some muscles. At home, simple chores – sorting laundry, watering plants, wiping counters – can get us moving and our heart pumping.
Will this new burst of activity seem strange to others? Possibly. Our culture remains one that equates inactivity with leisure, immobility with upward mobility. Why would you carry bags, run errands, clean your kitchen, or make tea for yourself if you can afford a driver and bai? But trust us, the people in your office, in your home, and in your life will get used to it. (We have an ex-colleague who was known for his boardroom peregrinations. No one noticed after the first week.) And, who knows, maybe your movement will catch on. A change of mindset is needed, toward one that values the benefits of simple movement. Perhaps then we’ll measure accomplishment in the strength of our bones, the flexibility of our frames, and the vigor of our circulation. More intangible, yes, but also more valuable.