You wake up, then sit down to eat breakfast. You get in your car, then sit down to drive to work. You get to the office, then sit down at your desk. You sit down to eat lunch. You sit down to drive to the gym. You sit down on the bench to work out. You sit down to drive home. You sit down to eat dinner. And then, exhausted with the busy day, you sit down AGAIN to watch TV, play with your kids, read a book, or unwind from your hectic schedule. Notice the pattern? You’re ALWAYS sitting! Over and over again. The average adult in the U.S. spends the majority of their day—more than 60%—being sedentary. It’s such a common part of our lives, we don’t even realize how often we do it.
There is a new area of research emerging referred to as “inactivity physiology.” This particular research is separating the idea of being more active and being less inactive. Sound like the same thing? Not quite. This small change in wording could make a big difference for your health.
In a self-reported study, 218 marathon and half-marathon participants reported on their activity levels. Although they actively train an average of 6.5 hours per week, their average sitting time was between 8 to 10.75 hours per day. While each of these individuals are all completing the daily activity recommendations, the rest of their day is spent relatively inactive. They are “being more active,” but they are not “being less inactive.” They’re essentially couch potatoes that are active for an hour or two each day.
So why do these new terms “more active” and “less inactive” matter? New research suggests that your one-hour workout a day cannot compensate for the other 23 hours of inactivity. Meeting physical activity guidelines does not counteract the metabolic risks of a sedentary lifestyle.
Sitting results in a drop in lipoprotein lipase, an enzyme in the body responsible for breaking down fats in food that are absorbed by the intestines and used as fuel for the body.This decrease in available enzymes leads to increased levels of triglycerides, an elevated risk of cardiovascular disease, and decreased levels of good cholesterol. Too much sitting can actually more than double your risk for metabolic syndrome.
The good news? Even with a desk job, there are ways to stay active.
1. Try out my personal favorite item in the office: the NordicTrack Desk Treadmill, and walk as you work.
2. Set your iFit band move alert to remind you to get up and stretch your legs throughout your workday.
3. Get competitive about your step tracking. Compete with your co-workers, set office goals, and make moving a priority.
4. Make any break a walking break; take your cup of coffee for a lap around the building.
5. Visit your co-workers at their desk, rather than emailing or messaging them.
6. Use the water fountain that’s farthest from your desk.
WARNING: This post is not intended to replace the advice of a medical professional. The above information should not be used to diagnose, treat, or prevent any disease or medical condition. Please consult your doctor before making any changes to your diet, sleep methods, daily activity, or fitness routine. iFit assumes no responsibility for any personal injury or damage sustained by any recommendations, opinions, or advice given in this article.