The ‘Don’t Exercise’ blog has brought up several questions, multiple comments, and even emails questioning it’s validity. From ‘Do you really believe this?’ to ‘That’s great news!’, from ‘What *should* I do?’ to ‘That’s a relief!’
Nearly all of the people who question the truth of ‘Don’t Exercise’ have one thing in common – they just read the blog title and didn’t read the content of the article. The title is such a controversy and caused such a fuss that lots of readers unsubscribed from the newsletter, even a chiropractor!
A little while ago, another well known doctor and posture specialist, wrote a note disagreeing with my article about ‘The New Sit’. Guess what? He hadn’t read the content either, he just saw the image and figured I had bought in. It turns out, we actually agree that the New Sit is NOT beneficial.
Where do you stand?
Having read the title, ‘Don’t Exercise’, would you agree with the statement, or disagree? Are you someone with an opinion and time to write an inquiry? Are you someone who looks at the evidence or takes time to read up on the subject? If you read a subject line that says ‘Don’t Exercise’ wouldn’t you want to know what in the world it was about?
I’m writing about it because it’s in the news and it’s not easy to read everything there is to know about sitting or exercise or health – this is your opportunity to get the low down on what the issues are and decide what to do for yourself.
I’m going to come completely clean here – research has found that SOME exercise is better than NO exercise.
This statement is a lot like saying some eating is better than no eating. Or some water consumption is better than drinking no water. If you read the following statement, would you understand what it means?
‘Cessation of pulmonary respiration is linked to higher mortality rates.’
Yep, I know that. You know that. I think everybody knows that. Maybe not though. If you don’t know it’s meaning, don’t sweat it. There are professionals in the field to help translate the science-ese. Here it is again: ‘If you stop breathing, you die.’
What’s the point, you ask? It’s about understanding what the research has found about EXERCISE and HEALTH.
The American College of Sports Medicine says that the evidence in support of the beneficial effects from performing exercise outweighs potential risks against exercising (eg cardiac arrest, respiratory failure, joint damage, muscle tears, etc) in most adults. This is a fact considered indisputable because exercise has been shown to support the following list of changes in sedentary individuals:
- Lowers blood pressure
- Improves lipoprotein profiles
- Enhances insulin sensitivity
- Manages body weight
- Preserves bone mass in elderly
- Reduces the risk of falling in aging populations
These are all good changes for people who spend most of their time SITTING. By today’s standards, most people don’t consider themselves chronic sitters.
However, Sitting is the new Smoking, remember? Sitting is a health hazard. linked inactivity to over 5 million deaths worldwide every year, which is more than the deaths caused by smoking. The new study by the Annals of Internal Medicine, found sedentary lifestyles increase the chances of developing conditions that contribute directly to dying prematurely, even for those who do the minimum recommended exercise.
The average American adult sits 9.3 hours per day not including commute times or meal times. In addition, most people watch 3-4 hours of TV each day. Potentially, you could be a 12 hour sitter, Monday through Friday.
Here again is the list of what may develop in the future (or you may have one or more already) that makes sitting such a hazard. Sitters are still likely to face:
- Higher risk of developing depression
- Greater risk of developing cancer – colon, endometrial, and lung
- Greater risk of developing heart disease
- Increases the risk of obesity
- Increases the risk of developing Type 2 Diabetes
- Susceptibility to muscular issues (immobility)
- Interference of LPL, lipoproteinlipase (fat breakdown for fuel)
As a reminder, this is the same list of problems for both categories of people: Sitters who Do Exercise as well as Sitters who Don’t Exercise.
EXERCISE in and of itself is not the solution, therefore, Don’t Exercise! If you only have so much time in a week, why bother stressing about getting in exercise if it doesn’t positively impact your Sitting health anyway?
The takeaway: Time to make a Plan about your Sitting Habit.
As a non-exerciser, add the minimum weekly recommendation – 2.5 hours of moderately intense aerobics, OR 1.25 hours of vigorous activity, OR combinations of both types. This does not include muscle building activity two times weekly.
What will you do? How will you do it? When and How often should you do it?
If you don’t know, I can help with creating that plan – it’s my specialty. Contact me at email@example.com.
As a current exerciser, here is a very important reality check: The minimum recommendations of exercise do not counteract diminished health from prolonged sitting.
Let me prove it to you with this simple test! Stretch your calves for 30-60 seconds each side – I recommend a piece half-foam for consistency and portability. Sit for the average amount of time you spend in that position. For me, it’s about 70-90 minutes at a time. Re-check your calves by stretching them again. Hopefully, you’re convinced… Please send me feedback on what you experienced!
Here’s another reality check: The body you take exercising, is the same body you use for sitting. If you do more sitting than exercising, you strengthen ‘sitting’ body patterns. The test is the same! If your calves stretch-ability changes while you’re sitting, that’s the movement availability in your calves during exercise.
What will you do to transform to a non-sitting body pattern? How will you do it? When and How often should integrate the tools?
If you don’t know, I can help with creating that plan, too – it’s exactly my specialty. Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Til then, Happy Sitting!