For millions of years, the human body squatted rather than sat. It was the normal posture, one compatible with overall health. Squatting not only helped muscles, bones, joints and other structures function well, but helped other areas too, including the body’s circulation and intestinal function. Quite recently, humans made a bad move by sitting more and squatting less.
Perhaps the most unnatural physical position for the human body is sitting. Prolonged sitting is associated with significantly more injuries, ill health and even disease, all leading to an earlier death, compared to those who sit much less.
The average adult spends 90 percent of their leisure time sitting down. While those in the study who were physically active had less affects from sitting stress, those who were inactive and sat the most had double the risk of dying within three years.
Sitting’s Double-Edged Sword, there are two separate patterns affecting our health. One is associated with more metabolic problems. This means more body fat, higher blood pressure, blood sugar problems, even cancer, heart disease and diabetes. Various aspects of our metabolism can become impaired. The reasons include reduced muscular activity, especially of the lower extremities, with associated decreases in blood flow, and can literally deform blood vessels.
The second pattern affects our biomechanics. This may induce muscle imbalance, tendon and ligament impairment, and joint stress.
Sitting places the pelvis in a stressful position causing the whole spine to twist, flex and extend in order to compensate for this unnatural position. In turn, this affects the shoulders and arms, and thighs and legs. In particular, your joints are most affected, from those in the pelvis and entire spine, to
the hips, shoulders and even the jaw joints. Muscles take much of the brunt of sitting stress. The muscles try their best to compensate for such unnatural positions—some get tighter while others weaker. This has a bad effect on your posture and gait. Once the muscles start making these changes, literally
sacrificing their normal activity to prevent joint, bone, or ligament damage, you get used to sitting without feeling bad.
Be on your feet more instead of hitting the couch or chair. It does take a little more energy to stand compared to sitting. The goal should be more standing and less sitting. With additional standing you’ll not only remain more mechanically stable with better muscle function, as the months pass you’ll burn
significantly more calories to reduce extra body fat.
Exercising but Sedentary
Humans are now more sedentary than ever. Even those working out can spend most of their day sedentary, leading to impaired health and fitness. Movement improves metabolism, physical fitness, muscle, bone and joint integrity, brain function, the heart and lungs, hormones, and more.
Even a very mildly active person may expend 2,500 calories in a day, yet a one-hour run will burn only about 400 calories. It’s possible for most people to easily increase energy expenditure beyond the sedentary threshold with some relatively minor changes in daily habits.
If overweight individuals changed their postural habits to two hours of standing instead of sitting each day, energy expenditure would be increased 10-20 percent, potentially resulting in a weight loss of 30 pounds in one year.
Energy expenditure increases substantially going from sitting to standing, but within about five minutes, it returns to near-sitting levels without some movement. Moving around, pacing, or alternating weight-bearing between left and right leg, can all increase energy expenditure. As long as you transition
from standing to sitting to standing again, you could double your energy expenditure.
Food and Sleep Components
There is considerable difference in energy expenditure from person to person.. Those who train their bodies to burn less sugar use more stored body fat for fuel. If you’re eating a high-carb diet chances are you’re burning more sugar than fat for fuel. The result is most people of the world have too much body
fat, including athletes.
A sedentary lifestyle increases the risk of carbohydrate intolerance. In healthy adults, the consumption of processed foods can reduce overall energy expenditure by nearly 50 percent compared with meals containing whole foods.
Sleep time also influences energy expenditure. Less than seven to eight hours sleep leads to consuming more food without expending any more energy. This is probably due to hormones involved in appetite regulation being impaired due to lack of sleep.
Non-exercise low-intensity daylong activities, such as standing more than sitting, transitioning from sitting to standing, and other movements, can significantly increase energy expenditure, burn more of that energy (calories) as fat, help reduce excess body fat, and increase physical and mental energy, even in those who don’t perform traditional exercises.
By implementing more natural daily physical activity, we can reap many metabolic, cardiovascular, hormonal, stress managing and other benefits, not to mention reducing excess body fat. READ MORE
Starting an effective exercise routine is easy. A heart-rate monitor can help you maximize the benefits of your exercise program. The primary goal is to improve aerobic fitness, which develops the body’s fat-burning capabilities. This in turn increases energy, helps your heart and lungs, improves circulation and brain function and tones muscles.
These three steps are important for easy exercise:
1. Choose the type of workout you want to do. Let’s assume you choose walking—nothing will work better for overall fitness and health benefits.
2. Monitoring Exercise, a heart monitor helps you get the most out of your workouts by making sure you remain at the proper level of easy intensity. By following an individualized heart rate, you can train your body to develop aerobic fitness and burn more body fat and attain other health benefits.
3. It’s important to incorporate a warm-up and cool-down routine into your workout. It simply means that you start walking slowly and build up your pace over a 15-minute period. To cool down, do the opposite—gradually reduce your pace over the last 15 minutes of the workout.
Day one of exercise is simple—just go outside and walk. The benefits begin with the very first workout. By increasing up to five days a week, you’ll continue to bring significant improvements to your health and fitness.
It’s best to develop a routine with exercise. A morning workout around the same time helps you be consistent. Some people walk at lunchtime, others after work to help wind down. You don’t need to work out every day. Three to five days a week will work wonders for health and fitness, and promote weight-los