You worked out hard and you did it right: a good aerobic warm-up, nonstop resistance sets that worked every muscle you planned to work, with a full stretch routine finish. But sadly, you won’t get the full results you want.
The reason is simple. You may routinely spend an hour, maybe more, toughing it out at the gym. But about eight to 12 hours of your day are still spent sitting — at a desk, in a car or on a bus, or while eating.
Worse, you may spend additional hours nearly motionless as you sit and surf the Internet, play games or watch TV.
The body goes into atrophy mode shockingly fast, much faster than most people realize. Within minutes after just sitting down, the body’s metabolism starts to slow. Muscles no longer need as much energy, so there’s no need to burn calories as fast.
Suppose you do a workout nearly every day. How does that hour of activity measure up against the hours of sitting? Your workouts may keep you relatively fit, but imagine how great you’d feel, mentally and physically, if you were REALLY fit. True fitness has a built in confidence factor that does wonders for the psyche.
There’s no need to go crazy; just moving around briefly but more often will do it. Make the body adapt more to movement than to sitting. Every 15 minutes or so, stand up and sit back down, then lift your feet until your legs are straight. That’s one rep. Do five or more. This moves every joint and muscle in the lower body and prevents physical adaptation to sedentary sitting.
At least once an hour, get up and walk for at least five minutes. You don’t have to walk fast, but walk continuously, without stopping. Swing your arms. Lift your knees higher. Twist your torso. Your goal is to make every muscle fiber in your body fire.
Going up and down stairs uses more energy than walking. Running takes more energy than going up and down stairs. Put a couple of dumbbells where you do most of your sitting and you can do biceps curls and other resistance work — maybe with only one rep, just to frequently break up the sitting with movement.
Keep your body moving. Never let it stay motionless for long.
Wina Sturgeon is the editor of the online magazine Adventure Sports Weekly.