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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.

      11 Health Benefits of Cucumber Water (+3 Refreshing Drink Recipes) Put Down Your Pizza and Find Your Healthy Diet Challenge Buddy By Using “Foodstand” Ditch Your Banana and Kale! Use “The Blender Girl” To Find Your Fun and Tasty Smoothie Recipes If You Exercise but Sit a Lot, You’re Still Unhealthy Walk While You Work, You’ll Be 10X Healthier

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      Last Updated on September 18, 2020

      7 Simple Rules to Live by to Get in Shape in Two Weeks

      7 Simple Rules to Live by to Get in Shape in Two Weeks

      Learning how to get in shape and set goals is important if you’re looking to live a healthier lifestyle and get closer to your goal weight. While this does require changes to your daily routine, you’ll find that you are able to look and feel better in only two weeks.

      Over the years, I’ve learned a lot about what it takes to get in shape. Although anyone can cover the basics (eat right and exercise), there are some things that I could only learn through trial and error. Let’s cover some of the most important points for how to get in shape in two weeks.

      1. Exercise Daily

      It is far easier to make exercise a habit if it is a daily one. If you aren’t exercising at all, I recommend starting by exercising a half hour every day. When you only exercise a couple times per week, it is much easier to turn one day off into three days off, a week off, or a month off.

      If you are already used to exercising, switching to three or four times a week to fit your schedule may be preferable, but it is a lot harder to maintain a workout program you don’t do every day.

      Be careful to not repeat the same exercise routine each day. If you do an intense ab workout one day, try switching it up to general cardio the next. You can also squeeze in a day of light walking to break up the intensity.

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      If you’re a morning person, check out these morning exercises that will start your day off right.

      2. Duration Doesn’t Substitute for Intensity

      Once you get into the habit of regular exercise, where do you go if you still aren’t reaching your goals? Most people will solve the problem by exercising for longer periods of time, turning forty-minute workouts into two hour stretches. Not only does this drain your time, but it doesn’t work particularly well.

      One study shows that “exercising for a whole hour instead of a half does not provide any additional loss in either body weight or fat”[1].

      This is great news for both your schedule and your levels of motivation. You’ll likely find it much easier to exercise for 30 minutes a day instead of an hour. In those 30 minutes, do your best to up the intensity to your appropriate edge to get the most out of the time.

      3. Acknowledge Your Limits

      Many people get frustrated when they plateau in their weight loss or muscle gaining goals as they’re learning how to get in shape. Everyone has an equilibrium and genetic set point where their body wants to remain. This doesn’t mean that you can’t achieve your fitness goals, but don’t be too hard on yourself if you are struggling to lose weight or put on muscle.

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      Acknowledging a set point doesn’t mean giving up, but it does mean realizing the obstacles you face.

      Expect to hit a plateau in your own fitness results[2]. When you expect a plateau, you can manage around it so you can continue your progress at a more realistic rate. When expectations meet reality, you can avoid dietary crashes.

      4. Eat Healthy, Not Just Food That Looks Healthy

      Know what you eat. Don’t fuss over minutia like whether you’re getting enough Omega 3’s or tryptophan, but be aware of the big things. Look at the foods you eat regularly and figure out whether they are healthy or not. Don’t get fooled by the deceptively healthy snacks just pretending to be good for you.

      The basic nutritional advice includes:

      • Eat unprocessed foods
      • Eat more veggies
      • Use meat as a side dish, not a main course
      • Eat whole grains, not refined grains[3]

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      Eat whole grains when you want to learn how to get in shape.

        5. Watch Out for Travel

        Don’t let a four-day holiday interfere with your attempts when you’re learning how to get in shape. I don’t mean that you need to follow your diet and exercise plan without any excursion, but when you are in the first few weeks, still forming habits, be careful that a week long break doesn’t terminate your progress.

        This is also true of schedule changes that leave you suddenly busy or make it difficult to exercise. Have a backup plan so you can be consistent, at least for the first month when you are forming habits.

        If travel is on your schedule and can’t be avoided, make an exercise plan before you go[4], and make sure to pack exercise clothes and an exercise mat as motivation to keep you on track.

        6. Start Slow

        Ever start an exercise plan by running ten miles and then puking your guts out? Maybe you aren’t that extreme, but burnout is common early on when learning how to get in shape. You have a lifetime to be healthy, so don’t try to go from couch potato to athletic superstar in a week.

        If you are starting a running regime, for example, run less than you can to start. Starting strength training? Work with less weight than you could theoretically lift. Increasing intensity and pushing yourself can come later when your body becomes comfortable with regular exercise.

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        7. Be Careful When Choosing a Workout Partner

        Should you have a workout partner? That depends. Workout partners can help you stay motivated and make exercising more fun. But they can also stop you from reaching your goals.

        My suggestion would be to have a workout partner, but when you start to plateau (either in physical ability, weight loss/gain, or overall health) and you haven’t reached your goals, consider mixing things up a bit.

        If you plateau, you may need to make changes to continue improving. In this case it’s important to talk to your workout partner about the changes you want to make, and if they don’t seem motivated to continue, offer a thirty day break where you both try different activities.

        I notice that guys working out together tend to match strength after a brief adjustment phase. Even if both are trying to improve, something seems to stall improvement once they reach a certain point. I found that I was able to lift as much as 30-50% more after taking a short break from my regular workout partner.

        Final Thoughts

        Learning how to get in shape in as little as two weeks sounds daunting, but if you’re motivated and have the time and energy to devote to it, it’s certainly possible.

        Find an exercise routine that works for you, eat healthy, drink lots of water, and watch as the transformation begins.

        More Tips on Getting in Shape

        Featured photo credit: Alexander Redl via unsplash.com

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