We all know the benefits of exercising: weight loss, stress release, help with sleep, depression reduction, and gaining more energy, among many others.
That’s all wonderful, but many of us have sedentary jobs, where most hours of the day are spent sitting. And sitting that long diminishes the positive effects of exercising.
In fact, Dr. Genevieve Healy from the University of Queensland School of Population Health in Australia, says that "we’ve become so sedentary that 30 minutes a day at the gym may not counteract the detrimental effects of 8, 9 or 10 hours of sitting."
Some studies have found that extended sitting can increase our changes of developing colon cancer by 24%, risk of endometrial cancer by 32%, and cause a 125% increased risk of developing some type of cardiovascular disease.
So we can't slack off on movement, and as I’ve written about previously, every movement counts.
"I don't have time," you say. But one minute of movement is better than nothing. Even if you stand up and walk around while you’re on the phone, it can keep you from accidentally sitting for 8 straight hours per day. It can break you of that habit.
And there are many options to help you get moving no matter where you are. Dr. Dave Katz, Director of Yale University's Prevention Research Center, and his team created the Activity Bursts Everywhere for Fitness (or ABE for Fitness - http://www.abeforfitness.com/) program, which offers a full library of exercises which you can do basically anywhere. No workout attire and special equipment required.
You have nothing to lose, but a lot to gain, by sitting less and adding movement to your routine. So go for it!
What are the benefits of adding movement into your daily life?
Stronger Immune System
Research has shown the correlation between physical activity and the incidence of getting a cold – the more activity, the stronger the immune system, and the more resistance there is to the common cold. Other research shows how exercise can help prevent infection and certain cancers. (And this does not need to be hardcore exercise – moderate exercise works wonders!)
Better Brain Function
Exercise increases the production of the brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) protein, which, among other things, helps with the overall health of nerve cells. This helps overall cognition, including prevention of Alzheimer's and Parkinson's. Research indicates that the more intense the exercise, the better, although more recent studies have shown that light exercise can be sufficient. And of course, the brain releases endorphins, which helps you feel great!
Many people with chronic pain don't exercise, because they feel the pain gets worse as they move. But oftentimes, it’s the case that these muscles are not yet conditioned. To prevent increased pain, exercise should be introduced gradually – start small and slowly increase the frequency and duration to give the body time to adapt. Released endorphins during exercise not only help us feel better, but also help block the pain.
And as usual, before starting any exercise/physical activity routine, please consult with you doctor.
For a complete list of references for this post, please email me.