Over the past 30 years there has been a shift in the way society behaves, works, and expects to work due to huge advances in technology1. This slow yet steady shift has turned America into a near-complete sedentary society. Technological progress and all the wonderful things that it does has turned the vast majority of Americans into sedentary blobs at work, at home, and at “play”. Be it the cushy office job that so many people covet, to watching T.V., to playing video games; all we do is sit. We sit at work, we sit at home, we sit when we play… Sit. Sit. Sit. Where has all this sitting done to our society? It should come as no surprise, as we are told it loudly and often, that we are overweight, out of shape, and unhealthy. This begs the question, “What do we do about it?”
According to the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) prolonged sitting has adverse health consequencesincluding all-cause mortality and cardiovascular disease. So what can we do? Do you remember as a kid when you were at school or at home and you had to be moving all the time and then your parents or your teacher would tell you to “sit still,” “stop wiggling,” and “sit down?” What if these things are part of what you are supposed to do? ACSM suggested that this may be exactly what we need to do, and it is called non-exercise activity thermogenesis, or NEAT. This is the energy that your body expends outside of regular exercise and it plays a pivotal role in keeping us healthy1! So what does that mean for us?
When you find yourself fidgeting at your desk, tapping your feet, or bouncing your leg, that is your body’s way of tell you it needs to move! So, stand up and move! Pace when talking on the phone, take periodic breaks just to walk down the hallway, deliver messages in person versus emailing, play movement based video games, and walk to and from the mailbox… Be creative! Find new ways to get up and move around and, yes, don’t forget to fidget.
Have a healthy week!
Contributors: Kim Farmer and Michelle Beachem of Mile High Fitness. Mile High Fitness offers in-home personal training and corporate fitness solutions. Visit www.milehighfitness.com or email firstname.lastname@example.org
1 Bushman, B. A. (2012). Sit less and stand and move more. ACSM’s health and fitness journal, 16(2), 4.