Our modern life is built around a sedentary lifestyle. We find ourselves strapped to a desk everyday responding to emails, taking calls and completing reports. When we are not behind the desk, we are in meetings or couch side surfing the net on our iPads or catching up with the latest episodes of The Big Bang Theory on the flat screen.
Interestingly, and whilst I am no scientist, it always surprises me how good I feel after a gym work out or having a bruising encouter at the Do Jang with my other taekwondo training partners. I can walk in feeling fatigued, my leg muscles feeling dormant and with a ‘can’t do attitude’ that is flat out telling me ‘there will be no training today mister!’ But after the work out and with the endorphin rush that inevitably kicks in, I feel brilliant, on top of the world and full of energy.
More than ever, it is important to get out from behind the desk and to freshen up on some much needed exercise. It is suggested that we at least complete 30 minutes per day. Many people struggle finding a quick 5 minutes to catch up on ‘current affairs’ with a quick browse of the daily paper. But when we break it down, 30 minutes only equates to about 2 per cent per day. You still have 98 per cent remaining for the balance of your domestic and working activities. So surely you can find the time!
So people, the evidence is clear. Sitting is becoming the new plague. It is dangerous and needs to be treated as a serious health issue. Get busy moving. Refresh your body with a lunchtime power walk. Get up early to complete that personal training in the park with friends. Take the stairs instead of the lift. Your body will thank you for the attention.
Peter Katzmarzyk, a professor at the Pennington Biomedical Research Centre in Baton Rouge makes an interesting observation on our body, which is built for movement, not idle behaviour:
‘The leg muscles are the largest in the body, in terms of skeletal muscle. When you sit, you’re deactivating them.’
The above observation is expanded on in Kate Lunau’s article, ‘Why sitting is a health threat’ (8 January 2013) in the following way:
‘After a little under an hour, our metabolism starts to go to sleep. The body becomes less adept at vacuuming sugar and fat from the bloodstream, causing them to build up and insulin levels to spike.’
So there are to be no medals awarded for those who sit and work long hours day in and day out. Whilst our time at the desk is in many cases unavoidable, it is important to recognize the associated risks and to take active steps to allow your body to do what it is built to do, move and move often.
So please keep a check on the time spent attending to your sedentary lifestyle. Get busy finding new ways to move about and your body will love you for it!