YOUR CHAIR IS KILLING YOU AS YOU READ THIS POST!
Stop what you’re doing right now and move!
This is not a joke or tagline … stop whatever you’re doing, stand up and walk down the hallway, across the building, out to your car, or grab a sip of water. Unless you’re involved in some life-threatening activity, GET UP AND MOVE NOW! Your life literally depends on it!
Don’t worry, this article will still be here when you get back.
Let me ask you a question...What do you perceive to be global pandemic? Ebola? Swine Flu? H1N1? Small Pox? Nope, not even close. What if I told you it was physical inactivity? According to a study released in a series of papers and published by the Lancet Journal (the world's leading general medical journal and specialty journals in Oncology, Neurology and Infectious Diseases) physical inactivity already is a global pandemic. In fact, lack of exercise is causing up to 1 in 10 premature deaths around the world each year. That’s roughly the same number as smoking!
Ready to go for another walk?
"Sitting," says Dr. James Levine, an endocrinologist at the Mayo Clinic who has researched the dangers of a sedentary life for the last 15 years, "is the new smoking."
Here’s the skinny… If you spend more than six hours per day on your butt you’re at a dramatically increased risk of high blood pressure, diabetes, depression, obesity, heart disease and various types of cancer.
YOUR WEEKLY ACTIVITY ISN’T CUTTING IT
Think you’re safe because you hit the gym a couple times a week? Not so fast… The standardized guidelines for regular activity and exercise are not sufficient to offset the potentially catastrophic our sedentary lifestyles are fostering. Think about it: On average we spend 9.5 hours on our backsides every day. That’s nearly 2500 hours of pure sedentary existence. Imagine smoking for 2500 hours per year?
The Lancet Journal’s study determined that physical inactivity could be defined as failing to do at least 30 minutes of moderate activity five times per week, 20 minutes of vigorous activity at least three times a week or a combination of the two.
If you’re not hitting these numbers, you’ve got company. An estimated 31% of adults worldwide aren’t meeting the minimum exercise standards and putting themselves at extreme risk for chronic disease.
Thank your car, TV, iPad, computer, and desk job for your expanding waistline and shrinking your lifeline!
SO MY DESK IS MY COFFIN … NOW WHAT?
Fear not, the solution is far more simple than you think?
It just takes G.U.T.S. GET UP and TAKE STEPS as often as possible. Nothing drastic here, just walk. Walk down the hall to converse with a coworker. Walk to lunch. Walk to the store. If you can, stand at your workstation. Just be active. Yes, it’s that simple. The path to better health, increased productivity and a long and prosperous life with your family and loved ones is that easy.
SIMPLE THINGS YOU CAN DO TODAY TO LIVE A LONGER, HEALTHIER LIFE
Just walk a little further!
I always have to chuckle at my wife whenever we go out. She spends so much time circling the parking lot, looking for that perfect space right up front, time which we could have easily spent out of the car and walking the amount of distance we’d save if we’d parked closer. It doesn’t take a Herculean effort to live healthier and reduce the chance of chronic disease. This is just one small step toward a better life.
Next time you’re out, park at the far side of the lot and take the walk from the car to the theater, store, mall, etc. Let’s say you set a daily goal of 5000 steps, roughly 3 ½ miles. If you parked just 250 steps from the entrance you’d be at 10% of your goal by the time you returned to your car! And this doesn’t include any of the time spent shopping, browsing, etc.
Simple stuff right? Here’s some fun statistics for you to reinforce the point…
1 mile = 1500 steps
1 mile walked = 100 calories burned
1 pound = 3500 calories
2 pound weight loss per week = 7000 cal, or a 500 cal deficit/day
1 pound weight loss per week = 5 extra miles walked per day - or 7,500 extra steps (in addition to the distance that you are currently covering while maintaining weight)
1 pound weight loss per week with diet changes and walking combined = 2.5 extra miles walked per day (3750 extra steps), and 250 calories less consumed per day, for a total daily caloric deficit of 500 calories.
We’ll cover diet and nutrition in a later post, right now lets focus on getting you moving.
You have a Stairmaster in your office… USE IT!
The fire exit stairwell can save your life in more ways than one. How many of us work in multi-story offices? Have you ever used the stairs? Why not?
Look, we all live busy lives, I get it. Chances are you’re rushing to make it to work on time and the elevator is right there, beckoning you with its open doors and soothing music. That elevator might as well be headed straight up to the pearly gates because it’s just as culpable for your early demise. Again, we’re looking for incremental changes in behavior that have a compounding effect on your overall health. Taking the stairs to and from your office is a simple and highly effective way to accomplish this goal. Your heart will thank you for it.
Go for a short walk every hour
Contrary to popular belief we are not more productive by sitting at our desks all day pounding away at the keyboard. Not only does this stifle creativity, it’s downright unhealthy. There are currently more than 10,000 studies that show that frequent, prolonged inactivity (sitting) whether at work, driving, watching TV or focused on on a multitude of electronic devices has a detrimental impact on cardiovascular and metabolic function.
One hour of sitting can cut arterial blood flow in half. Yes, you read that correctly. One of the most recent studies in this field found that just one hour of sitting impaired blood flow to the main leg artery by as much as 50 percent! To combat this, simply get up and walk for a minimum of five minutes every hour. Walk down the hall, around the building or to the lunch room to grab glass of water. Instead of sending the email, walk across the office to converse with a coworker. I know you’re feeling less productive by walking away from your workstation but here’s the reality...studies show that regular exercise increases blood flow to the brain thus improving focus, clarity and productivity.
The bottom line here? Just move … remember, it takes G.U.T.S. Get Up and Take Steps.
Buy an activity tracker and join the revolution
Ok, you’ve got my attention. Inactivity is killing me but how do I really know how much exercise (movement) I’m getting? Maybe my daily activity is sufficient?
Without tangible data points it’s nearly impossible to accurately gauge one’s activity and in most cases we tend to believe that whatever we’re doing is probably enough. Using my own family as a beta group, I quickly identified the grossly inaccurate assumptions each of us were making about our activity. In every case we miscalculated both the amount of movement we actually conducted.
How did we do this? I bought fitness trackers like the Nike Fuelband, Garmin Vivosmart or Mio Link sold here on GovX. Arguably the best piece of technology I’ve owned in years and certainly the only one that’s adding years to my life!
Present day fitness trackers are nothing like the simplified pedometers that we’ve all been exposed to. These new devices are smarter, more accurate and allow for much broader type of data collection, everything from diet and calories consumption, sleep, heart rate, blood pressure and activity. When paired with a mobile app or your desktop computer these beauties provide a very accurate picture of your daily, weekly and monthly lifestyle and fitness.
Seeing the amount of activity you get (or don’t) get is an eye opening experience that will change your life. Throw one of these devices on your wrist or side and you’ll suddenly be highly motivated to take that 5 min walk at the office, order the low calorie option at lunch or go for an evening stroll with the dog.
So what are you waiting for? Get out of that chair!
The son of an avid outdoorsman and early waterman, Scott Seymour was born into an adventurous lifestyle. Having spent most of his formative years along the remote beaches of Baja California and the dusty backroads of nearly every mountain range on the western edge of North America he understands what its like to live off the beaten path and on the road less travelled. Those early years were spent diving, surfing, fishing, mountaineering, exploring, prospecting and getting lost and found literally and figuratively on a regular basis. While an atypical childhood it may have been, it forged an adventurous spirit and a thirst for life that has continued to guide him through adulthood.
As a collegiate volleyball player at UCLA, Scott developed a passion for teamwork and helping others meet their maximum potential. He went on to build a successful career leading and managing highly efficient sales teams for various national and global organizations. In 2008, feeling that familiar yearning for adventure he made a career 180 and for the past several years has worked as a bail and recovery agent in Southern California. Scott is also a registered EMT and first responder and will be starting the fire academy in January of this year with the goal of becoming a paramedic.
A self proclaimed “gear junkie” Scott can still be found most days researching and testing new equipment and strategies while stand up paddling, surfing or exploring the coastlines of Southern California or Mexico.
He resides in San Clemente with his wife and two junior watermen.