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Even Small Amounts Of This Lead To Big Changes
Computers, smart phones, and the internet have been life changing things for us, haven’t they? It seems as if we can do almost everything online and many of us do. While these things are super convenient, they do have their downsides. We live a more sedentary lifestyle than ever imagined by our grandparents.
Something as simple as walking down the street is now seen as a chore. You see people walking in the mall dragging their feet, huffing and puffing along as if this were a hard workout. There is no energy to their gait, no fluidity in the motion of their bodies, as if they were unaccustomed to simply walking.
The truth is, they are. We are so accustomed to being driven everywhere. We drive to work, walk a few steps to get into an elevator, sit at our desks, go back to our cars, go home and plop on the sofa for the next installment of The Walking Dead.
There are plenty of truly disabled and ill persons who would give almost anything just to be able to walk.
A new study is putting out a call for every person, who is able to, to take more walks throughout the day in order to maintain their cardiovascular strength. For those who sit behind a computer desk all day, this study is even more vital. This study found that persons who sit for six hours a day drastically decline their overall vascular elasticity, according to the University of Missouri School of Medicine.
The good news here is that this study also found that when a person breaks up those 6 hours with just 10-minute walking breaks, vascular health is restored and kept in good working order.
Of course, it is easy to get involved in a project and spend hours pouring over spreadsheets and sending emails, however, we need to find time or make time for our health. This study found that sitting for 6 hours each day dramatically reduced the blood flow to the legs and that just 10 minutes of walking reversed that damage.
Decreased blood flow, the friction that is caused by blood flowing on the artery wall, referred to as shear stress, is also reduced. Low levels of shear stress reduce the ability of the arteries to dilate. The more arteries can dilate, the healthier it is.
In general, everyone needs 30 minutes each day, minimum, of moderate exercise. This includes a nice, brisk walk, five days each week. Two days of strength training and stretching exercises also will keep your body in good shape.
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Another study, from the American College of Sports Medicine found that, even if you are training like the dickens after work, if you are spending time sitting behind a desk without taking walking breaks, or if you are spending 4 or 5 hours watching those “Breaking Bad” reruns at night, you are still endangering your health.
Sitting for long periods of time, is distinctly different from exercise and one does not cancel out the other.
It’s important that you break up those hours spent sitting by standing up and walking around or getting some other type of exercise. This doesn’t mean that you can’t watch television or play Mario Kart, but you need to get up every 30 minutes or so and spend at least 5 minutes walking or getting some other type of exercise (jumping jacks, running in place, etc.).
The reason that sitting for long periods is so bad for your health is not completely understood. However, study after study shows that sitting for long periods (and yes, this includes lying in bed) had very poor long-term mortality outcomes.
This same study found that, not surprisingly, those who took more frequent breaks had lower triglyceride levels, lower weight levels, smaller waists, and lower body mass indexes.
Researchers recommend that you get up off your fat for at least 5 minutes for every 30 minutes or 10 minutes for every 60 minutes that you spend sitting. This really isn’t that hard to do and those small amounts of exercise really add up.
Try putting your treadmill in the same room as the television and walk during commercial breaks or walk during the last (or first) 10 minutes of every program you watch. Set the timer on your cell phone to go off every hour to remind you to get up and move.
At work, pace whenever you are on the phone, set a timer to remind you to get up, walk down the hall to get coffee, to get some water, to go to the bathroom, and spend an extra few minutes walking up and down the hall or up and down the stairs or just down to the end of the block and back, whatever your particular situation will allow.
It all boils down to getting up and moving that booty for just a few minutes every hour when you must spend time sitting.
By the way, the same goes for long car or airplane trips. Get up and try to walk a bit or take a break to stretch your legs and get at least a few minutes of movement time to prevent blood clots and to keep your cardiovascular system happy and healthy.
Time to take a stroll down the street. See you for the next article.