If someone looks fit, wouldn’t it be logical to assume they’re also healthy? More and more we’re realizing that this assumption isn’t correct. Just like the old saying goes, you can’t judge a book by its cover, well in this case you can’t judge a person’s health by the state of their chiseled abs and bulging biceps. Just because the outside looks pretty doesn’t automatically mean that the organs on the inside are healthy.
If you spend most hours of the day being sedentary (not doing much physical activity) don’t think that the 60-90mins you spend in the gym is going to offset all that sitting and laying around you do the rest of the day. Even if you exercise on a daily basis, it’s not enough to mitigate the other 23 hours of almost zero physical activity.
Here are a few articles highlighting this fact:
- –Two hours of sitting cancels out 20 minutes of exercise, study finds
- –It Doesn’t Matter How Much You Exercise If You Also Do This
- –Exercise Can’t Erase the Harms of a Sedentary Lifestyle
The fact of the matter is our modern world is about 180 degrees opposite to the world our species evolved into. Our hunter-gatherer ancestors were nomadic by nature. Movement was a major part of their lifestyle. They had to move everyday in order to hunt and gather food and supplies. You could say that movement is our nature, it is what our bodies were intended to do. But in our modern world our technology has made everything super convenient to the point where we barely have to move anymore. Well convenience is a double-edged sword. What can one do to prevent falling into the category of fit-sedentary?
First of all you need to change your mindset. For many, exercise and physical activity only take place in the gym or at the sports venue. Tear down that boundary in your mind and realize that exercise and physical activity can literally happen anywhere: home, workplace, during your commute, etc. I like to tell the story of a gym I used to work at where when the parking lot was full, people would sit in their cars near the entrance waiting for a spot to open up instead of driving as little as one block away and then walking the less than 2 minutes to the front door of the facility. In some cases people would sit in their cars for 10-15 minutes before a spot finally opened up. Seriously? You’re going to the gym to do physical activity anyway but you’re unwilling to walk one block to get to the gym? Obviously this makes no sense, but perfectly highlights this division between exercise and the rest of life that many people have in their minds.
Walk to as many of your destinations as possible. Park a little further away instead of endlessly circling parking lots. Live in communities that have infrastructure like walking paths, bike lanes and parks. Take the stairs instead of the elevator or at least get off the elevator a couple of floors early and take 2 or 3 flights of stairs. Get a stand up or adjustable desk at work so you’re not sitting all day. Take a walk on your lunch break. Plan active activities on your days off. Be conscious of your daily routine and start planning out where and when you can incorporate physical activity into it instead of just going on autopilot day in and day out.
And of course, join a gym! Hire an amazing personal trainer. You need a physical activity mentor to teach you how to make this lifestyle transition. Looking for a gym or a trainer? Check us out! We’re always happy to help.
Besides being a regular contributor to the Function Health Club blog, Jeff Doyle is also the co-owner of Function Health Club as well as a Personal Trainer, BCRPA Trainer of Fitness Leaders, Agatsu Kettlebell Instructor and Older Adult Wellness Practitioner. He also has a Bachelor of Human Kinetics. You can contact Jeff directly at firstname.lastname@example.org