Ahhh, nothing like getting home after a long day's work, kicking off your shoes, grabbing your favorite beverage and snack, and lounging on the couch to your favorite TV shows. Being lazy sure does sound amazing sometimes, doesn't it? I know it does for me! But what does not moving actually do to our bodies?
Did you know that roughly 100 million Americans work desk jobs? And only roughly one-third of American adults get the exercise they need?
Since many of us work a desk job for roughly 8 hours a day, we forget to move our bodies regularly. Studies find that people who sit more on a regular basis have less than desirable levels of cholesterol, blood sugar, triglycerides, and even waist size which increases the risk of diabetes, heart disease, and a number of other health problems.
So what can we do to help prevent such health issues? Try setting an alarm on your phone or watch to get up every hour or so from your desk; say to get a glass of water or walk around the building. Or how about sitting on an exercise ball versus the traditional desk chair. An exercise ball helps strengthen your core while improving your balance and posture, which requires energy, which means you're burning calories! If you really want to go above and beyond, try exercising before work or during your lunch break so that your body continues to burn calories throughout the rest of your day.
Now aside from suggestions on how to move around in more in your daily life, you're probably wondering why this should be made more of a priority. Let's go through just a few reasons:
Exercise can be particularly important for those with arthritis.
Exercise helps strengthen the body's joints by building the muscles around the joints for greater stability. Joint-strengthening exercises also help protect the joint and keep it strong. These are some great exercises that help keep the range of motion of our joints at their best: cycling, swimming, strength training, and stretching.
Break down that fuzz!
What is fuzz? Fascia aka "fuzz" is a tough connective tissue that spreads throughout the entire body in a web-like shape from head to toe. The fascia surrounds every muscle, fiber, bone, nerve, organs, and basically everything else in our bodies. Fuzz is needed for muscle contraction and relaxation and is also an attachment surface for our tendons and ligaments. Basically, fuzz holds our organs and bodies together.
When we don't move for extended periods of time, the fuzz builds up in the body and binds, creating a feeling of "stiffness." This build-up prevents the muscles from moving freely against each other limiting range of motion. Regular stretching and movement will help keep your muscles and fuzz in good working order.
Movement helps maintain sanity
I'm not sure about you, but if I am stagnant for too long, I start to get a little stir-crazy. And there's actually science for this!
Exercise and movement help reduce stress. When you move, your body increases concentrations of norepinephrine, a chemical that can moderate the brain's response to stress. Studies also show that exercising can create new brain cells. High-intensity workouts increase levels of a brain-derived protein (called BDNF) in the body, which is believed to help with higher thinking, decision making, and overall learning. Whoa!
And probably one of the most important mental benefits to staying active is better sleep. We all love to sleep. A moderate workout can be the equivalent of a sleeping pill, even for those with insomnia (like me). Moving around during the day raises your body's core temperature. When your body temperature comes down to normal a few hours later, your brain sends a signal to your body that it's time to sleep.
This is just a short list of the benefits of moving your body. The list of health benefits of moving and staying active is practically endless. Atlas dares you to start moving regularly throughout your daily life and see if you don't notice a difference. We promise you will!
Yours in Health,