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Is sitting the new smoking?

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Is sitting the new smoking?

Technology has done some wonders for our civilization. It's made our lives as easy as pie, but there's a major downside ... the active lifestyles the majority of our country once lived have dwindled down to sitting more hours than not?

Almost every industry has fallen victim to increased sedentary positions filled with the help of technology. Maybe some more than others, of course, but even the little things add up for major impacts over time.

Think about when you felt your very best in life: it was likely around high school or college. You walked everywhere you went. You played sports. You participated in group activities. You moved more than you didn't.

It's no coincidence you felt more energized, more confident, and more capable in your day to day. You felt younger than ever ... and it had nothing to do with actually being younger than you are now. Movement is truly medicine!

Fast forward to today's America: sit sit sit sit sit, all day long.

And that's a problem for 1.4 billion people at risk for chronic disease which will lead to an early death. If you don't know, physical inactivity is the leading cause of preventable chronic disease and ultimately, death.

A 2020 meta-analysis found that Americans are sitting an average of 10 hours per day. If you are that average, you need approximately 40 minutes of moderate to vigorous intensity physical activity daily. For every additional hour you spend sitting, you would want to add approximately 4 minutes at that intensity to that total.

What's that, moderate-vigorous, anyways? A combination of (in order of most important to least) strength training and cardiovascular training with intensity that prevents you from holding a conversation. 

So when you see those ladies with the matching outfits walking and talking through your neighborhood, they aren't spending their time as effectively as they could be.

If you aren't motivated enough to get that daily intensity on the books, not all hope is lost. You can combat some of the negative side effects from sitting:

- Using a standing desk for more hours than sitting
- Replace a regular chair with a physioball
- Take a 10-minute walk for every 50 minutes you're sitting
- Watch your favorite TV show on a stationary biking or treadmill
- Perform 20 squats or pushups on the hour every hour you're sitting
- Taking the stairs instead of the elevator
- Park your car in the back of the lot

You don't have to go from zero to one hundred tomorrow, but adding in these little bits day by day will help you feel like your younger self in no time.

Check with your employer to see if your benefits include ergonomic environments. They likely won't go out of their way to provide you with tools to improve your health unless they're leading the charge in a health-conscious workplace, so you'll have to hound them.

There's a reason you feel that 2 pm slump, and I assure you it isn't because you're out of coffee ...


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