Move It or Lose It!

11 04 2014

You have heard this saying before, right? We know the more inactive we are, the more difficult it becomes for us to move and become active. Our bodies need regular exercise and activity to keep muscles and bones strong, and to keep our

Cathy Shaw

Cathy Shaw

heart and lungs healthy. Of course there are a whole host of physiologic benefits to exercise, but here are some facts about our activity trends that may shock you…

Sedentary behavior is different than inactivity. Someone is sedentary when they do any activity during waking hours that are characterized by low energy expenditure (</= to 1.5 ME for you fitness gurus) AND sitting or reclining posture. Someone is inactive when they get an insufficient amount of moderate to vigorous physical activity (they do not meet physical activity guidelines of at least 150 minutes of moderate physical activity weekly).

Shocking News: Individuals who are more active are NOT necessarily less sedentary. Do you get your 60 minute work out in and then sit at a desk all day at work? Do you come home after your work out and relax watching TV or surfing the internet in the evenings? Studies have shown that there is no significant difference in sedentary behavior in exercisers versus non-exercisers for this reason.

Most adults spend 60% of their waking hours in sedentary behavior. This averages out to 8-9 hours a day which is more time than we spend sleeping! So why is sedentary behavior so bad?

It is associated with:
• Increased risk and incidence of obesity
• Increased incidence of heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, and abnormal lipid levels
• Increased risk of death from cancer, heart disease, and all causes
It can also cause:
• Decreased appetite regulation
• Decreased energy expenditure
• Decreased venous sufficiency (efficient blood flow)
• Chronic increases in glucose response and insulin levels

All of this can result from sitting too much, whether you exercise or not. So what to do? Here are some great ideas to start TODAY!

At work:
• Take a short walk every time you get up to get a drink
• Take a lap around the building when you use the restroom
• Walk on your lunch break
• Take the stairs, not the elevator
• Set a timer to get up to walk or stretch every hour
• Stand as much as possible. Use a standing desk, stand to talk on the phone, stand for meetings

At home:
• Do commercial workouts! Get up and move during all commercials. Try jumping jacks, marching in place, sit ups, push ups or even lifting hand weights.
• Walk your dog daily
• Get up and walk between chapters when reading
• Walk with your spouse after dinner
• Park further from a store entrance when running errands
• Play with your kids for at least 30 minutes
• Set up your environment to encourage physical activity: place laundry room, deep freeze, or pantry in the basement so that you have to take the stairs.
• Dance! Crank the music and get moving!
• Find an activity you love and enjoy it! Biking, jogging, yoga, whatever you like.

Remember, reducing sedentary behavior does not require a gym or any special equipment. It’s all about you. So choose to move more and sit less today!

For more great ideas to add activity to your day, visit Sparkpeople at , or the American College of Sports Medicine at




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