How Much Exercise Can Make Up for Sitting All Day?
A few years back some scary claims were made about sitting all day.
The most common?
“Sitting is the new smoking.”
Sitting is supposedly killing us.
When I first heard this, I figured I was fine since I try to get daily workouts in most of the year.
Unfortunately, I found out that even working out in a gym isn’t enough to offset the negative effects of sitting.
CNN even had an article with this title:
I didn’t buy into this idea 100%.
It didn’t make sense to me that an intense 60-90 minute exercise session wouldn’t be enough daily exercise to offset sitting.
It turns out that you CAN offset the negative effects of sitting with daily exercise sessions.
Recent research shows that if daily exercise sessions are long enough, you can sit without guilt.
I will discuss this after a quick music break.
The music theme of this article is classic rock songs that are perfect for long road trips (or keg parties down by the river).
The advice of the “experts” was to either stand while working -or- get up every 30 minutes throughout the day.
I knew this was NOT going to happen for me, so more than anything I was HOPING that these findings were incorrect.
I explored the idea of treadmill desks…
…and standing desks.
[Working on a computer while standing seems like some sort of punishment to me.]
I spent 18+ years on my feet selling clothes and managing clothing stores.
During the holidays I would work 60-70 hours per week, mainly on my feet.
By the end of the work day…
My feet would hurt so much that I would have a slight limp.
I was always jealous of my friends with office jobs.
(Sitting while working still doesn’t even feel like work to me.)
Now that I’ve FINALLY earned my chair, I’m not going down without a fight.
Sitting may take my life, but it will never take my freeeedom!
I have nothing against standing desks or treadmill desks.
But asking me to stand all day is like asking a survivor of a shark attack to surf in Port St. Johns in South Africa (world’s deadliest beach for shark attacks).
I can’t be the only person with standing PTSD.
So thank goodness for this recent information…
Research Shows That 1 Hour of Moderate Exercise Wipes Out All the Negative Effects of Sitting All Day
This is a metanalysis of 13 prior studies…
Over 1 million people were followed for 2 to 18 years.
The subjects were mostly over age 45.
During the study period, 84,600 people died.
Here’s a brief summary of the findings of the study.
- People who sat for 8 hours or more and who got less than 5 minutes of exercise per day had a 59% increased risk of early death.
- Those who sat for 8 hours, but who exercised for 25-35 minutes per day had about a 30% increased risk of early death.
- The people who exercised for 1 hour or more EVERY day were able to eliminate the risks of sitting for more than 8 hours.
*If you can’t get in 1 hour of exercise per day, it is recommended that you sit no more than 4 hours per day.
One hour may seem like a lot of exercise per day.
I’ve been pushing hard for people to workout at least 5 days per week for many years.
In my fitness courses, I typically recommend Mon-Fri gym sessions and staying active on the weekends.
Not only is daily exercise healthy for you, it will transform your body.
(Yacht bods don’t happen by accident.)
Our bodies feel and look their best with 1+ hours of exercise per day.
(You were destined to look like a Bond Girl or Bond Villain.)
Don’t fight against your healthy & sexy destiny.
I DO think intensity matters.
I’m not saying that you need to train all-out for 60-90 minutes.
I think at least a part of the workout should get the heart rate up.
I like to follow my lifting session with about 30 minutes of strategic cardio to accomplish this.
If you do circuit training or CrossFit type of lifting, this works as well.
Get your heart rate up and spread your wings…
There is also a time element involved.
I don’t believe you can get the same benefits by training “really hard” for 30 minutes.
That could prove to be a deadly shortcut.
I’d even recommend more than 60 minutes per day for people who sit all day or watch a lot of TV.
Is Sitting the New Smoking?
ONLY for those who don’t have a daily one-hour exercise routine.
As a former fitness coach to fashion models, I can teach you how to increase muscle definition without adding size.
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