It’s common knowledge that as a society, we sit way too much. Most Americans will sit for 8+ hours per day between commuting to and from work, sitting AT work and during lunch, sitting for dinner and then sitting in front of the TV or to read. So, is standing more the answer?
Whether you workout or not, sitting too much is not good for our health. ABC news reports that “evidence suggests that modern, sedentary lifestyles, even for those with definite exercise routines, may put people at an increased risk of cancer.” If you sit eight or more hours a day for five days per week, working out for one hour twice a week is NOT going to cut it.
One of the reasons to exercise is (of course) to prevent diseases. However, even if you’re a consistent gym-goer, if you sit all day, you STILL have an increased risk for cancer, obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and metabolic syndrome. Sitting itself is not what causes these diseases, but instead internal changes that produce biomarkers. The biomarkers are what determine risk levels.
Is the solution to do the opposite? Shouldn’t just standing more should fix the problem? Well, not so fast! Standing does put more stress on the big muscles of the body and burns more calories, BUT just like sitting, standing too much can cause internal changes that put you at risk for other issues.
So although an obvious solution, standing is not the right one. Human beings were never meant to be in one position for hours at a time day after day. Our bodies are made to hunt, gather food, fend off predators, or escape danger. In other words, our bodies are made to move.
The solution to the “sitting problem” is to simply move more, and not just adding another workout to our schedule. Move more throughout your day.
Have you ever wondered why standing or anti-fatigue mats work so well? The soft surface is better for us because it forces constant perturbations that keep our bodies working to find balance. Perturbations are unconscious reactions we have to stimulus. This can be a ball carrier cutting to miss a defender on a football field or a sudden jolt to a loud noise. These stimulus cause vibrations and how we react to them is what is important. Since the mat is not flat, our ankles move in all directions trying to find balance which cause vibrations that go up the body. Anti-fatigue mats help us stand longer by forcing us the move more.
The key point here is to move more often. Make movement part of your lifestyle, not just your workout. If you notice yourself spending too much time standing, go into a deep squat, half kneel, full kneel, sit lotus on the floor, or go for a walk. Don’t spend time in the gym fixing postural problems to go home and sit in the exact position that cause those issues to begin with.
Use your body for its purpose – To Move More.