For several years we have been told that all we need to remain fit and health is one hour of vigorous activity per day, five times a week. Unfortunately there is an increasing amount of evidence that is suggesting “what people are doing when they are not exercising determines their true level of fitness”.
In 2009 at the American College of Sports Medicine’s Annual meeting, Dr. Neville Owen stated that “the average American sits for 9.3 hours per day”. The Neilsen company reports that the average American ALSO watches 5 hours of television during that same day. And another study shows that most Americans spend at least 1 hour a day surfing the internet. When lumping these activities into a single day, that is a lot of sitting!
New research is showing that prolonged uninterrupted periods of sitting can have “Detrimental Metabolic Effects”. What does that mean? It means that it can hinder or even erase the benefits of exercise leading to what many fitness professionals are calling “Couch Potato Fitness”. Even people who perform far more than the average amount of intense exercise are not immune to the effects that prolonged sitting can have.
A recent study performed by Australian researchers on a group of women showed “longer average bouts of sitting and or lying down were associated with higher body fat percentages”. A study performed at the Mayo Clinic led researchers to come to the same conclusion, regardless of gender.
Higher levels of body fat are not the only problems linked to sedentary lifestyles. Decreased insulin sensitivity, fatigue, high blood pressure, bouts of anxiety, insomnia, and even headaches have all been linked to prolonged periods of no activity.
Even factory and assembly line workers are sitting down at work!
“As recently as 50 years ago, people were moving all day long,” says Nicki Anderson, IDEA 2008 Fitness Trainer of the Year. “They mowed their lawns, [manually] opened their garage doors and hung their laundry out to dry. The musculoskeletal system constantly was being used. Sitting all day weakens your joints, decreases metabolic rate and perpetuates fatigue and poor posture, often contributing to back pain.”
So what is the solution to this problem? It can be summed up in one word, Move! Over 70% of the population sits or stands in one place at their occupation for the majority of the day. But we all get up for bathroom breaks, we take time to tweet, check our e-mail, and we head to the break room for a cup of joe. Instead of spending 5-10 minutes doing those, get up and perform a short 5 minute bout of intervals.
“What?!?!?!” Yes, you heard me right. You can absolutely get an interval workout in, in just 5 minutes. You should perform 3-4 of these over the course of your day but I can guarantee that that 5 minutes sprint will give you far more energy and vitality than that Venti Starbucks will.
For example, my client Christina works in the Tabor Center in down town Denver. She take several breaks during the day to climb from the 3rd floor to the 15th. Its just short enough of a workout to get her heart rate racing to about 175 beats per minute, but also short enough that she does not break into a sweat and can go straight back to the office without even needing to check her makeup.
One of my superstar Lakewood Personal Training clients Peggy keeps a kettlebell under her desk and periodically through the day performs 4-5 minutes sets of intervals using kettlebell swings. Another of my clients Pam has a TRX Suspension Trainer with a door mount which she can take to the office with her and get a quick workout in or even stretch.
The point I am getting at, is that no matter how busy you are during the day, fitting the belly bulge can be made easy and convenient. I challenge you to this right now. Stand up right now. Don’t look around to see who is watching, just stand up. Now perform the following workout.
Perform 15 repetitions of each of the following exercises in order. Then rest for 20 seconds and repeat until 5 minutes has passed.
- Jumping Jacks
- Air Squats
- Pushups (you may use your desk if you can not do full pushups on the ground)
Now, how do you feel compared to 5 minutes ago? Aside from being short of breath, I’m willing to bet you feel like you just pounded 3 cups of coffee.
if you would like to learn how incorporate “Burst Training” into your daily life to shed those unwanted pounds and make friends and family do double take when the holidays roll around in 3 months, contact me today. Whatever you choose to do, be it working with a trainer or on your own, “Don’t make excuses, make it happen”!