The Renaissance of Movement!

Like the sedentary space travelers from the futuristic movie Wall-E, today’s Americans suffer the negative health effects of sitting.  But there’s a simple remedy for this new public health threat–and it’s movement!

Get up and move once every 60 minutes!

Move It or Lose It!
Experts now recognize that sedentary behavior, or prolonged periods of sitting or lying down, results in negative health consequences. Studies link sitting and activities such as television watching to a slowdown in metabolism, along with Type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, depression, back pain and even premature death.

Our bodies are built to move. Up until 200 years ago, our ancestors engaged in agricultural activities, sitting for only a few hours a day. But today’s average American spends up to 15 hours daily in sedentary activities, according to some estimates. Movement at home and at work has decreased dramatically. And that’s a recipe for disaster!

Move Throughout the Day
The new science of wellness tells us that even if we manage the recommended 150 minutes of exercise per week, that’s not enough to stay healthy! In fact, prolonged sitting will actually negate the benefits of a concentrated bout of activity. That’s right–six hours of reclining cancels the fitness gains of a 60-minute workout!

While it sounds discouraging, think of it this way: 150 minutes of weekly physical activity is about 2% of our waking hours. And that leaves lots of time for motion, with the key being frequent and consistent movement.

The best prescription, then, is to combine planned exercise (e.g., a 30-minute bike ride or 60-minute gym workout) with movement all day long. Experts recommend getting up and walking for two minutes per every hour of sedentary activity.

No Excuses, Just Go!
If you’re having difficulty “finding” time for daily movement, here are seven ideas to get you going:
1) Use an activity tracker. Become aware of your movement (or lack thereof) with a pedometer or fitness tracker (think Fitbit, etc.). These devices track steps throughout the day–and remember, it all counts! Set a goal to move more often, ultimately shooting for 10,000 steps per day.
2) Move once an hour. Stand up, engage the large leg muscles and get your heart pumping a little faster every 60 minutes. Get up and go during commercials, talk while on the phone or let a fitness tracker alert you once an hour if you haven’t moved.
3) Become less efficient. Inform your boss that employees who are physically active throughout the workday are more productive. Then she won’t mind when you begin to print to another office, use the upstairs restroom or hold “walking” meetings.
4) Embrace your break time. A full-time employee has at least 60 minutes of free time each day–a gift for movement! Get your buddies involved and stroll on a regular basis.
5) Seek out the stairs instead of elevators and escalators. Think of the time you’ll save avoiding lines when shopping!
6) Get creative with indoor walking. And speaking of shopping, many malls now welcome walkers and indicate the distance per “lap”–in year-round, air-conditioned comfort.
7) Fire your housekeeper, gardener, dog-walker…you get the idea. All these activities add up when it comes to health benefits.

For more information about exercise, subscribe to my free ebook!

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