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If You Exercise but Sit a Lot, You're Still Unhealthy
A typical day used to be spent doing physical labor, but that is no longer the case. The inactivity most of us experience as part of our daily career routine can increase our risk of dying. You may make time to go to the gym an hour or two a week, but if 40 other hours are spent sitting at a desk or sitting during your lunch break, you aren’t actually compensating for it while you’re at the gym.1A typical day used to be spent doing physical labor, but that is no longer the case. The inactivity most of us experience as part of our daily career routine can increase our risk of dying. You may make time to go to the gym an hour or two a week, but if 40 other hours are spent sitting at a desk or sitting during your lunch break, you aren’t actually compensating for it while you’re at the gym.1
While many of us mean well and fully intend to walk more on our lunch breaks or go to the gym more frequently, we are often so mentally tired after a long day at work that we wind up laying on the couch at home watching tv instead.
Humans have grown to be less active
In the 1960’s, approximately 50% of US jobs required heavy to moderate physical activity. This was a time when factory jobs were still common place and employees were on their feet all day whether doing heavy lifting or not.2 Now, however, that percentage is a measly 20%, meaning a whopping 80% of American jobs are almost wholly sedentary or demand very little physical exertion. The unfortunate truth is that most of us spend our workdays glued to our chairs staring at a computer. Sitting, is now an epidemic.
Think back to your childhood. You used to run around playing outdoors. At school you had P.E. classes and may have even been encouraged by your friends to take up a sport. Unfortunately, as you grew up, your opportunities to participate in physical activity became less available. While working for an income is a huge priority, should it really come before our health? Unfortunately, it seems most of us have said yes and thus, have stopped moving very often.
Even though you may do exercises once in a while, exercise alone isn’t enough to make you more active in general. In one study, two groups were analyzed. One group was very active, exercising more than 7 hours a week. The other group spent more of their time sitting down. The less physical group had a 50% greater risk of death. As if this isn’t a scary enough result, the same group also doubled their odds of dying from heart disease.
Get up and get moving
The goal is simple: move more, sit less. Look for small ways to incorporate more activity into each and every day. Maybe tomorrow you could share this article with a coworker and make it a goal to walk every day on your lunch break together. Try to fit in two miles a day. And if you have stairs in your office, try to take those rather than opting for the elevator.
This video also has some great recommendations you can try!
For even more inspiration, check out this article for exercises you can do while you’re at work: 29 Exercises You Can Do At (Or Near) Your Desk
Stand up now!
Don’t get so carried away with big goals that you disappoint yourself right away; try to start small. When you find substitutions in your daily life (such as taking the stairs at work or even standing and pacing while you talk on the phone), you can quickly start some new habits you’ll be able to keep in the long run.
While sometimes it can be so tempting to get home from a long day at work and lay around and binge watch your favorite series, you’ll be happier, and much healthier, if you can make it a point to be active. If you’re a pet owner, you’ll also feel better about your relationship with your pup — take them for a walk! Your healthy heart, and your furry friend, will thank you. If you don’t have a pet, link up with a neighbor who would help you stay motivated and accountable.
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