Beating the Inactivity of a Sedentary Job
By Barb Marco
I say it all the time – you can’t exercise your way out of a bad diet.
Now I am going to have to break some more bad news to you: Your hour long intense aerobic class or your daily visits to the gym just aren’t enough to keep you healthy.
The current recommendations from the CDC for exercise range from 75 minutes of intense activity to 150 minutes of moderate activity a week, which I could not disagree with more. Luckily, the American College of Cardiology doesn’t agree either.
In American College of Cardiology’s study, it is strongly suggested that exercise may not actually counteract the negative effects of sedentary lifestyle, at least when it comes to heart health. Dr. M. Levine has been studying this for over 10 yrs and his focus has been on the urban changes and how N.E.A.T. (Non-Exercise Activity Thermogenesis) exercise should be implemented often for optimal health.
So why are we sitting so much?
Think about this: Our urban environment promotes driving everywhere – technology provides the tools that allow you to change the station, start your car and even open the windows at the push of a button. You don’t even have to get out of your car at the bank or at a restaurant – just drive up to the window and presto! Jobs are less manual than ever. Modern technology is not promoting activity, but rather, promoting more and more sitting.
Why is this information so significant? It’s a huge contributor to our diminishing health.
Sedentary lifestyle or inactivity contributes to many disease processes, such as:
- Heart disease
- Type 2 diabetes
- High blood pressure
And going a little bit further, sitting for just 30 minutes may result in metabolic changes as well. This may be seen in the following ways:
- Higher blood pressure
- Decreased alertness
- Higher level in “bad” LDL cholesterol
- Lower level of “good” HDL cholesterol
- Higher blood sugar levels
So what can you do?
Well, you can get moving! Move more and move often. Even just a couple of minutes between every 20-30 minutes of sitting is shown to improve metabolic effects of movement.
Use non-exercise activity to increase movement, like standing, toe tapping and stair climbing. While talking on the phone, pace instead of sitting. Use the stairs instead of the elevator. Track steps and movement with a pedometer to get a visual measurement of how you are doing.
If you do happen to sit all day, when you get home, avoid the TV for that mini marathon. You can certainly do even more, like using your work breaks to walk, using a bathroom further away, parking your car as far away as you can at every stop and so much more.
Studies show it might even add years to your life. So get yourself up from that couch and start moving!
About the Author
Barb Marco is a Registered Nurse (RN) and a Certified Health Coach with a passion for helping individuals reach their health goals while focusing on improving their overall well-being. She specializes in weight management, pre-diabetes and managing excessive stress.
Barb leads nutrition, health and wellness seminars and workshops. In addition, she offers health and nutrition coaching to individuals, groups and families. She is also a Certified Personal trainer and teaches group fitness, including Yoga, Martial Arts, and Resistance formats.
Her approach encompasses the entire scope of wellness, which goes beyond just the food we eat and the habits we hold. She supports her clients to engage and integrate a healthy lifestyle program for long term success.
Connect with Barb:
Image Credit: Ath-lean XX, Participation, Rand Corporation
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