Coach Kelli: A sedentary lifestyle is as detrimental as smoking

We know that cigarettes are bad for us, but now there is new evidence showing that a sedentary lifestyle can be as detrimental to our health as smoking, which is the single most preventable cause of disease, disability, and death in the United States.

Data from the Nielsen Organization reports that a typical American adult watches more than 151 hours of television per month, they also spend 27 hours surfing the Internet monthly and seven hours watching time-shifted television (i.e., DVR, TiVo). Most adults drive their cars to work and sit behind a desk for 8 or more hours a day. It is clear that all of this time spent doing sedentary activities may partially explain the obesity epidemic in the U.S.

Our bodies were designed to move.  Just over a century ago we were still responsible for hunting and gathering our food.  We walked and moved most of the day from sun up to sun down.  It’s estimated that since the 1970’s we are burning 800 less calories a week. That equals 41,600 less calories burned a year which totals 11 pounds.  When is the last time you lifted up a garage door, washed your own car, pushed a mower or planted a garden?  I am not suggesting you go back to doing these things if you don’t enjoy them, however, let the convenience of innovation free up you time so that you can engage in physical activities that you enjoy and which boost your longevity.

Activities like aerobic exercise and resistance training improve our health and lower our risk for disease, but that’s only part of the story. Adults who exercise regularly, but spend most of their days sitting, have greater health risks than active people who are walk or move throughout the day.

60 percent of Americans don’t exercise enough and over 25 percent are not active at all.  So first, find an exercise program that incorporates moderate and vigorous exercise.  The American College of Sports Medicine recommends performing cardiovascular activity 3 to 5 times weekly for 20 to 60 minutes, strength training 2 to 3 times weekly and regular flexibility conditioning.  Boot Camp workouts are a perfect solution because they combine all components of fitness using varying intensity levels and the accountability of a coach. 

Next, look for strategies to break up the time spent in a low-energy state such as a day at a desk. 40 to 50 million Americans have sedentary jobs, so set a reminder every 55 minutes to get up, go for a 5 minute walk or stretch at your desk or take several trips up a flight of stairs. That will get your heart pumping and give you mental clarity as well as a metabolic boost.  Schedule a longer activity break mid-day that may include going outdoors for a walk around the campus, going to the corporate gym for 30 minutes or even setting up a mini gym in your office with exercise bands and a jump rope.

If you drop your children off for a lesson, use the time to go to for a walk or jog.  Resist the urge to drive your car short distances.  Take advantage of the amenities in the community including pools, tennis courts, golf paths, stadiums, parks and more.  Even 10 minute bouts of activity throughout the day are beneficial.

Finding time for movement is a lifesaver!  If you were ever active at some point of your life and have let regular movement slip away, you know how great you can feel!  When you are conscious of finding time and ways to move, you will surprise yourself at all of the opportunities to get up and get going. I challenge you to get into a productive and enjoyable fitness program and look for all of the countless ways to get your body moving.

It’s up to each of us to be responsible for our health and wellbeing.  Committing to moving your body the way it was meant to move is an important and progressive step in looking and feeling your best. 

Join in with the men and women of Argyle Adventure Boot Camp who have incorporated both regular exercise as well activities of daily living to optimize their health and longevity. Camps begin monthly and are for all ages, all sizes and all abilities.

Kelli Calabrese is a 24 year award winning fitness industry leader in Flower Mound who is a clinical exercise physiologist author, international speaker, editor, coach, media spokesperson and Isagenix Consultant. She is the international master trainer for Adventure Boot Camp and the Coach for Argyle Adventure Boot Camp.  For more info, visit; , [email protected] or 817-490-1296.

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