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Sitting Is the New Smoking: Is Your Sedentary Lifestyle Killing You?

What if I told you that sitting is the new smoking and your chair is out to kill you. What if I told you that sitting may have more to do with obesity than lack of physical activity? No, really.
I’m sure you’ve heard the news by now. Thanks to our increasingly seated existence that’s spent parked behind a steering wheel, hovering over a keyboard, or slouched in front of the tube, we are at an increased risk of heart disease, diabetes, cancer, and even depression. Compound all of that with the additional time we spend sitting around on our duffs because we need time to “relax” and you’ve got a recipe for disaster. Champion's General Manager Christy JohnstonWe spend as much as eighty percent of our working day sedentary.  So it’s no surprise that with all of this sitting were doing for extended periods of time that our fat burning furnaces would essentially come to a screeching halt.
Our bodies simply aren’t built to sit all day. Think about it. Back in the good ol’ days we were out doing what our bodies were made for; foraging for food, performing various other physical tasks. Actively doing what HAD to be done to simply survive. Obviously, back then no one thought of it as working out or exercise. It was just the way life was.
Let’s think about this for a minute. That person who’s spending one to two hours a day at the gym is doing everything they need to do, right? Well, not exactly. New data is telling us that being sedentary for nine, ten hours a day at the office is bad for your health whether you go home and watch television afterwards or hit the gym. It is bad whether you are morbidly obese, part of the CrossFit community, or marathon-runner thin. It appears that what is even more important than being a frequent gym-goer, is breaking up all that sitting around were doing throughout the day.

Unfortunately, outside of treadmill deskregularly scheduled exercise sessions, there are some active people that sit just as much as their couch-potato peers. In fact, some gym patrons may make less of an effort to move outside of their designated workout time because they feel they’ve done enough. If this isn’t enough to digest, research also reports that people are about thirty percent less active overall on days when they exercise versus days they don’t.
Among the solutions being taken into consideration are walking meetings, ‘active sitting’ (on a resistance ball) and the standing or treadmill desk. Believe it or not, in the United States, around sixty thousand treadmill desks have been purchased. It is estimated that walking at a super slow pace burns one hundred to one hundred and thirty calories an hour. Certainly they aren’t as cheap as a chair and require a huge culture change in businesses, but stop and think about it for a minute. How much will you be paying in medical bills down the road when your health begins to fail? It may not be such a bad idea after all.
There are small changes that you can make every day that will make a big difference in your overall health down the road. The hardest part for most people is getting started. Once you’re used to doing things differently, the changes you implement will become habits as opposed to something you constantly have to think about doing.
startup-photos-1Here are a few easy habits to get you up and out of your seat:
Change Your Mindset. First off, stop taking the damn elevator! If you have a meeting on the fifth, sixth, seventh floor, take the stairs! Stand up whenever possible. While using your phone, writing text messages, checking your email, on Instagram, or Facebook.
Be an Active Couch Potato. Stand up while playing your video games, during commercials, for a conference call, or for segments of your favorite TV shows.
Stand Whenever Possible. You should not be sitting for more than a half hour at a time. Posture can become poor (meaning your shoulders can slump forward and your back can become curved in the wrong position), putting an extremely high amount of pressure on the discs in your spine. Over time this can lead to herniated discs which can cause numbness and tingling.
Stay active throughout the day. You don’t have to do burpees, mountain climbers, or squats. Get out of your chair and do some heel raises or a few push-ups up against the wall. Stretch every chance you get and do a few minutes of shoulder rolls to keep your neck and upper back muscles from tightening up.
Walking meetings. Schedule meetings where you are able to walk. Whether it’s from one place to the next or walking outdoors for an hour while your meeting is in session, it’s a win, win situation. Walking or doing some type of exercise will allow for not only increased brain activity but also minimize the amount of sitting and often eating (because as we all know meetings usually have food) you will do.
If all this hasn’t made you look at your chair with a scornful eye, you should also know that a growing body of research shows that people who spend too many hours of the day glued to a seat, die at an earlier age than those who do not. Studies are concluding that every hour spent sitting in front of the television could be cutting up to twenty minutes from our life span.
The Bottom Line:

 Believe me when I say, there’s no downside to sitting less and moving more. We simply aren’t walking, running, or even just standing enough to counteract all the harm that can result from sitting around all day.
After reading these points, many of you have already thought of a hundred reasons as to why you can’t get up and start moving, but if you take a step back and think about it, there are plenty of ways to have a more active lifestyle. Start with changing just one thing at a time and then when that one thing becomes a habit, change something else.
Are you scared straight out of your chair? Good. The rude reality is we have become a culture of lazy, sedentary, irresponsible individuals. It is an issue that affects nearly all of us. Remember, self-care is a divine responsibility. Whichever way we do it, for the good of our health, our backs and necks, and our bottoms perhaps, it’s time we make a change. So get out of your seat and live a longer, happier, healthier life!

Did you or someone you know become noticeably healthier, stronger, leaner, and more physically fit from a new commitment to exercise? Go to Champions Fitness-Center on Facebook, request us as a friend and share your personal success story! Inspire others to get in shape! We want to hear all about it.

I am currently certified by the National Sports Conditioning Association, Apex Fitness Group, and the International Sports Science Association. If you have a question and/or topic you would like me to discuss please e-mail me at isellgraphs@aol.com. If you would like to set up a free consultation with one of our certified fitness professionals please call Champions Fitness at 452-5522.

Jennifer Nastasi Guzelak
I have been a personal trainer for over seventeen years and I absolutely love what I do. I honestly feel that I have one of the best jobs out there! The most rewarding part of my profession is helping one of my clients succeed at reaching their personal fitness goals. Making a difference in someone’s life makes it all worthwhile. I am currently certified by the National Sports Conditioning Association, Apex Fitness Group, and the International Sports Science Association.