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The Sitting Epidemic

The Sitting Epidemic

What are you doing as you read this? Most likely, you’re sitting down. On average, Americans are sitting for 13 hours a day and sleeping approximately 8 hours. This totals around 21 hours of sedentary habits a day.[1]

When you get home from a long day at work or school, you most likely sit down to catch up on your favorite TV show or scope all the social media drama you may have missed. While it may feel like the right thing to do after a long, mentally tiring day, sitting actually increases your risk of death. Even if you hit the gym on occasion, you may not be compensating enough.[2]

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Blame It on Our Work

Let’s take a trip back through time. In 1960, an impressive 50% of U.S. jobs required heavy to moderate physical activity.[3] Presently, that percentage sits at a measly 20%, meaning the majority, 80% of jobs, are wholly sedentary or require very little physical movement. The vast majority of us spend our entire workday glued to our chairs and desks. For many of us, our fingers are getting the most exercise typing emails and messages.

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    The More You Sit, the Earlier You Die

    Sitting more than six hours a day greatly increases your risk of an early death.

    After two hours of sitting, your good cholesterol drops by 20%. While you may think going to the gym twice a week for an hour will make up for that, remember: we are sedentary about 21 hours a day. It doesn’t take a mathematician to know that 2 does not equal 21 and will therefore not compensate for it.

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    Sitting also makes us fat. It decreases the activity of an enzyme called lipoprotein lipase (LPL) which helps burn fat.[4]

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      Stand, Stretch, Move

      The key is to stand, stretch, and increase activity as much as possible. Some suggestions for you to move more even though you have to sit most of the time at work:

      • Standing in place increases your energy more than sitting. Something as simple as walking increases your energy level by about 150%!
      • Try to substitute taking the elevator with the stairs instead.
      • If you talk on the phone daily or love lengthy group texts, stand up while you’re engaged in these activities. Pace around your house, or chat on the phone while you walk through your neighborhood.
      • Drink more water! So you will need to go to pee, and stand up to refill your water often.
      • Set an hourly alarm to remind you to stand up and take a lap around the office or your house.
      • And if you do have a busy office job, consider a standing desk. Here’re some great options: 10 Best Standing Desks That Are High in Quality and Cheap in Price
      • If you’ve been meaning to catch up with Karen down the hall at work, don’t just hop on your email or instant chat; take a walk and talk to her in person.
      • As added inspiration, use a health app to count your steps every day so you know how many steps you need to stay healthy and fit. Most fit people take about 5000 steps per day and sit less than 300 minutes. Start with that goal first.

      Take care of your body and your lifespan and take a few extra steps every day! Remember to start small with substitutes for daily bad habits and try to stay aware of what you’re doing at all times.

      After about three weeks, you won’t even have to think about it anymore; you’ll be walking and moving more than ever! Your body will thank you for it. Share this article with a friend so you can keep each other accountable, too!

      Reference

      More by this author

      Jolie Choi

      Having experienced her own extreme transformation process, Jolie strongly believes that staying healthy takes determined and consistent action.

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      Last Updated on November 20, 2020

      Kickstart Your Morning Workout With These 10 Simple Habits

      Kickstart Your Morning Workout With These 10 Simple Habits

      Benjamin Franklin said it like this: “Early to bed, early to rise, will make a man healthy, wealthy, and wise.” He knew from his own experiences and watching others that the ones who got up early were healthier and more successful. That’s why a morning workout can be so important.

      One 2017 study found that:[1]

      “after controlling for such factors as age, sex, smoking habits, and others…night owls, were found to have a 10 percent greater risk of dying from any cause compared to morning types.”

      This is a great reason to tap into some morning motivation and get your morning workout done.

      Circadian Rhythm for morning workout

        As you can see in the above graph, your blood pressure begins to rise between 6 and 7 in the morning[2]. That means this is a great time to get your body moving and your heart pumping, even if it’s just for 20 minutes of exercise in the morning. 

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        Here are some tips on how to find the motivation for a morning workout.

        1. Remember Your Why

        It starts with remembering why you want to get up for a morning workout. If you don’t set a goal and establish your reasons for accomplishing a health and fitness goal, then you definitely won’t get up early.

        Getting up early isn’t easy. If it were, everyone would do it, right? Your goal for your health and fitness must be so strong, and the WHY behind it must be so powerful, that nothing will stop you from accomplishing that goal.

        2. Go to Bed Early

        If you want to get up early for a morning workout, it’s going to be important to get to bed earlier. Falling asleep at midnight and trying to get up at six just won’t work in your favor.

        This will likely be very difficult for a few days while you adjust your sleeping habits. However, as you get into an exercise routine in the morning, this will naturally make it easier to fall asleep earlier and faster at night.

        3. Make a Commitment

        I sometimes tell my Facebook community of my plans to work out, and we all keep each other motivated by posting our runs, our workouts, etc. This is a way to develop accountability. By publicly announcing your intentions, you increase your chances of actually carrying out your plans.

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        Another way to do this is to find an accountability partner who has similar goals for morning workouts. You can check in with each other to make sure you’re sticking to your plans. If that doesn’t work, hire a personal trainer for a few weeks to get you started.  

        You can learn how to find a good accountability partner here.

        4. Find a Friend

        If you can find a friend that is motivated like you are, and you can hold each other accountable daily to working out, then you will accomplish your fitness goals. Many people prefer working out with friends to working out alone. Whether it’s a chat while hitting the treadmill at the gym, or having someone to spot you while weightlifting, working out with friends is sometimes just more enjoyable.

        Texting each other the night before with a simple statement is best. Don’t ask: “Are we still working out in the morning?” With this kind of question, if they were thinking about not working out, you just gave them an opt out.

        Make a statement instead: “Can’t wait to see you in the morning!” This implies that they will be there, and they will feel more obligated to show up.

        5. Treat Yourself

        We all have to treat ourselves every now and then. After a morning workout, plan to treat yourself with a colorful, healthy breakfast or a delicious morning smoothie. This will help you look forward to something and push through to the end of your workout.

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        You can learn more on rewards and punishments here.

        6. Change your Mindset

        Many people throw away the idea of a morning workout by simply saying, “I’m not a morning person.”  Instead of using this excuse, decide to try to become a morning person by shifting your mindset.

        When you look into the benefits of waking up early and getting some exercise in before your day starts, you’ll feel more positive about your life overall.

        7. Plan Your Day

        You know you’re going to be busy. Try time blocking to plan all the things you need to do on a given day, and make sure you add in your morning workout[3]. If you have a plan laid out, you’ll be more likely to follow it and get done everything on your list done.

        Time blocking

          8. Reflect on How You’ll Feel After

          Starting a morning workout is hard, but visualizing how you’ll feel after can help you find motivation. Think about the extra energy you’ll have and how proud you’ll feel knowing that you were already so productive. No matter what you do the rest of the day, at least you squeezed in your exercise!

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          For me, I live in an area where there are a lot of runners. When I am heading home in the evening or sitting out on the patio at one of my favorite restaurants, and I see the runners go by, it makes me feel so accomplished that I got mine in that morning and I can enjoy the evening.

          9. Lay out Your Workout Clothes

          Setting out your workout clothes the night before makes it impossible for you to start to run late because you couldn’t find something to wear. Tap into the determination you have before bed in order to convince your less-than-motivated morning self that you need to get up and get your morning workout in. When you wake up and see your outfit laid out next to you, it’ll push you to get up and get moving.

          10.  Set Multiple Alarms

          Many people miss their morning workout simply because they hit the snooze button so many times. In order to make this more difficult for yourself, set a series of alarms. That way, if you keep hitting snooze, you’ll have three or four alarms going off every ten minutes, which will be annoying enough to get you out of bed.

          Also, put one alarm at least a few feet from your bed so that you’re forced to get up to turn it off.

          Final Thoughts

          About three years ago I went from being the person that says I will never be an early riser to a person that loves to get the day started as soon as possible. Without the distractions that begin to come around 8 or 9 in the morning, you’ll find that you’re more productive and more likely to squeeze in that morning workout.

          Take some of the actions above and find the best morning workout routine to start your day and feel good.

          More Tips on Morning Exercises

          Featured photo credit: Tomasz Woźniak via unsplash.com

          Reference

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