The conclusions are unanimous: A sedentary lifestyle is the newest plague of our time and is commonly being labeled as “Sitting is the new smoking”.
“Sitting is more dangerous than smoking, kills more people than HIV, and is more treacherous than parachuting.” The Centers for Disease Control reports that 75 cents of every health care dollar are being spent on chronic conditions linked to sedentary behavior like obesity, diabetes, and heart disease. These are some of the startling conclusions that have been coming out of research regarding how sedentary lifestyle is affecting Americans.
We see two seemingly conflicting trends in today’s society that show significant promise for reversing this trend. The first is an ever increasing use—dare I say dependence—on technology. This may seem like a negative trend in this issue, but fighting the inevitable may not be the most effective of methods to combat its effects.
The “Information Age”
The number of hardware options (i.e smart watches) and software (i.e. apps) to track health markers like food intake, heart rate variability, sleep cycles, and daily movement are exploding. The second is a trend towards the utilization of natural methods for improving health. The last decade has shown a sharp increase in the use of herbs, vitamins, functional movement, yoga, chiropractic care, acupuncture, and the like for resolving common health conditions.
Companies are now stepping up to serve this population, streamlining the search for effective, actionable information to take back control of one’s health with their services or products. Online courses, webinars, curated content like www.100yearlifestyle.com, assist in navigating the mountains of information produced by the “Information Age”.
- Counter the collapse: Our connective tissue becomes what we do most. Move little? It will allow you to move little. Slouch at the desk all day? Standing up straight becomes a struggle. Try this: Standing 6 inches from a wall clear of obstructions, reach up as high as you can and contact the wall with your hands. Step back with one leg and let your chest fall down and in toward the wall, while looking upward. Hold for 10 seconds to 2 minutes. Find your sweet spot that feels great.
- Light up your brain: Complex coordinated movements of our large proximal joints (hips and shoulders) are extremely stimulating to our cerebral cortex. Stimulation to this brain region results in better concentration, creativity, and decision making. Try this on for size: Stand, facing a sturdy chair or desk, steadying yourself with your hands. Shift your weight to your left foot. Flex your right hip and knee to 90°. Now, trace a lateral figure 8 or an infinity symbol, leading with your right knee moving leftward and trailing with your foot. Perform for 15 seconds, trying to keep your pelvis facing as forward as you can throughout the movement. Repeat with the opposite side.
- Fire up the metabolic machinery: A sedentary lifestyle effects every cell in the body by making them less efficient at performing their cellular duties. Fatigue, weight gain, skin problems; impaired detoxification, poor concentration, chronic pain… any of these sound familiar? Move more! Take a lap around the building, hit a few flights of stairs, do 10 squats, or do 10 push-ups against your desk. Do enough to pump the heart rate up to get you breathing a bit harder.
With any of these recommendations, doing them regularly is key. Combating the average 14 hours that Americans sit per day takes more than a single bout of exercise. It takes frequency and regularity. It requires a different lifestyle. So, every 40–50 minutes take a self-love break and turn the trend in your favor. Sitting may be the new smoking, but active is the new awesome.
Contributed by Dr. Dan Cooper, DC; originally published on the100yearlifestyle.com