You may not want to sit down, because what I’m about to tell you will shock you. In fact, what I’m about to tell you may rock you to your very core. But whatever you do, don’t sit down. The truth is: most of us sit way too much, and all that sitting may be killing you. That’s right, killing you! I know what you’re thinking: “This guy is a being dramatic.” But according to some groundbreaking new research, this statement isn’t hyperbole at all. Sitting for long periods of time may be just as bad for you as smoking cigarettes. Now, unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past ten years, you probably know that sitting on the couch all day isn’t going to make you a healthy person. But what if I told you that even if you adhere to the government’s guidelines for daily exercise and work out for thirty to sixty minutes per day three to five days per week, you still may not be doing enough to counteract the damage that sitting for extended periods does to your health? That’s a shocking statement for most of us! Don’t sit down.
For years doctors, exercise physiologists, personal trainers (like myself), and the government have been telling you that if you eat sensibly, don’t smoke or drink to excess and exercise, you could significantly lower your risk of developing heart disease, diabetes, obesity, cancer, metabolic syndrome and a variety of other lifestyle diseases that currently plagues our society. However, new research suggests that although 30 to 60 minutes of exercise per day can help improve lung capacity, strengthen the heart muscle, improve circulation, burn calories, strengthen muscle fibers and connective tissue, lower stress hormones and improve brain function, sitting for long periods of time may be a health risk unto itself, much like smoking tobacco.
The unavoidable truth is that most of us spend the vast majority of our day seated. What I explain in this book is why extended periods of sitting are detrimental to your health, and why you must get up and move regularly, even if only for a minute or two each hour. And what I will show you is how simple it is to fit regular, daily movement into your modern life at work and at home.
I am going to use my wife as an example. My wife is the director of marketing for an architectural millwork company. Her typical day goes something like this: She gets up at about 6:00 a.m. and does twenty minutes of yoga; she showers, gets dressed and gets ready for work. She usually has a couple of cups of coffee and a fruit smoothie for breakfast then drives about seven minutes to work (she is on the low side of commute time, as the average American commute is twenty-three minutes one way to work). She gets into the office at nine o’clock and goes directly to her desk where she proceeds to spend most of the morning working at her computer. About one o’clock she stops and has lunch. Most days she brown bags it, bringing something like tomato soup and a sandwich, or leftovers from dinner the night before, other days she runs out and gets something from a local drive through and takes it back to her desk. The afternoon tends to be more of the same unless she has a meeting. If she has a meeting she might drive to someone else’s office and have a seat for that meeting. She usually leaves the office for home at around 6:45. When she gets home she takes the dog for a brisk thirty-minute walk, then we sit down for dinner. After dinner we sit down together on the couch and talk and watch a little television, then toddle off to bed at around eleven.
Does my wife’s day sound familiar? It should, because that’s pretty typical for most of us. In fact, most of us don’t even get in the fifty minutes of exercise my wife fits in. After looking at her typical day, we found that she spent an astounding twelve hours in the seated position each day. With this schedule my wife would be considered to have what the government, medical professionals and personal trainers classify as an active life style. Her fifty minutes of exercise (twenty minutes of yoga and a brisk thirty minutes of walking five days a week) makes her “active,” which means she is the poster child for what all of us should be aiming for. But what about all that time that she does nothing but sit? Can those fifty minutes really make up for those other twelve hours? According to several new studies the answer may be no.
The desk job has become the norm in America and across most of the Western world. Many of us are virtually chained to our desks, working on our computers, answering emails, teleconferencing and doing Skype meetings. For most, the only reason to get up out of our chairs is to take a quick bathroom break, and then it’s back to the desk to type up that report or send out that follow-up e-mail. According to a poll of 6,300 people by the Institute for Medicine and Public Health, Americans spend an average of 56 hours each week just sitting. That’s up by eight percent in the last twenty years. We are also contending with longer commutes to work, leaving us sitting in our car fighting traffic for longer periods of time each day, and causing us to be more sedentary than ever before. But it’s not just our jobs that encourage all this sedentary behavior; it’s also what we do when we are off work.
Sitting for extended periods of time is as bad for your health as smoking cigarettes. And exercising for 30-60 minutes a day isn’t enough to undo the damage from extended periods of sitting. Is Your Chair Killing You reveals shocking new research showing that sitting for long periods greatly increases your risk of developing obesity, heart disease, diabetes, stroke and cancer. Our bodies were designed to move constantly over the course of the day, but most of us sit for hours a day at work and at home! Fitness and wellness expert and award-winning author Kent Burden has created brief, simple movements you can incorporate into your daily life to combat the damaging effects of sitting. These simple movements, done standing for 1-5 minutes each hour will burn calories, energize and refresh you, and you won’t even break a sweat; you’ll even improve your back pain. This book is a how-to for weight loss and disease prevention. Read this book–you’ll be healthier in as little as 8 minutes a day.
Nominated for the Dan Poynter Global Ebook Awards and won honorable mention at the Los Angeles Book Festival
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Genre – Non-Fiction
Rating – G
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