“An object at rest tends to stay at rest and an object in motion tends to stay in motion.” -Isaac Newton
Okay Isaac Newton, I think you were on to something here… according to your brilliant first law of physics, things will generally just keep doing what they are doing i.e.) either rest or move. This law can even be applied to the overall trend of our bodies; we are either generally at rest or generally in motion.
It is a common mistake to think that 60 minutes of crash exercise is the anti-venom for irresponsible eating habits and general lack of movement throughout the rest of the day. What you see in the mirror is influenced the most by diet choices, but keep in mind that sedentary behavior is a risk factor all by itself… and I am not talking about the risk factor of popping out of your favorite pair of skinny jeans 😉
There is a growing understanding that sedentary behavior is a separate and distinct risk factor for major chronic diseases and health complications including obesity, heart disease, diabetes, hypertension, cancer, depression anxiety, arthritis, osteoporosis and premature death. Simply put, that 60 minute workout does not un-do the effects of sitting on your butt for the other 1380 minutes of the day.
You have probably heard the trending catch phrase “Sitting is the new smoking” lately, but do you know what fantastic benefits regular movement has on your body? (Please note: the key to the previous sentence is the word REGULAR!)
- Reduce mortality and the risk of recurrent breast cancer by approximately 50%.
- Lower the risk of colon cancer by over 60%.
- Reduce the risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease by approximately 40%.
- Reduce the incidence of heart disease and high blood pressure by approximately 40%.
- Lower the risk of stroke by 27%.
- Lower the risk of developing type II diabetes by 58%
- Be twice as effective in treating type II diabetes than the standard insulin prescription and can save $2250 per person per year when compared to the cost of standard drug treatment.
- Can decrease depression as effectively as Prozac or behavioral therapy.
- Adults with better muscle strength have a 20% lower risk of mortality (33% lower risk of cancer specific mortality) than adults with low muscle strength.
- Active individuals in their 80s have a lower risk of death than inactive individuals in their 60s.
- A low level of fitness is a bigger risk factor for mortality than mild-moderate obesity. It is better to be fit and overweight than unfit with a lower percentage of body fat.
- Regular physical activity has been shown to lead to higher SAT scores for adolescents.
- In an elementary school setting, regular physical activity can decrease discipline incidents involving violence by 59% and decrease out of school suspensions by 67%.
With all of these proven health benefits, it makes you wonder why the average North American adult spends 75% of waking hours in the sitting position. Picture this: The human body is roughly 70% water… do you remember the last time you passed a rotten stagnant puddle of water stinking up the ditch? YUK!! Please don’t let your body take on that same stale state. Movement keeps things alive at the cellular level – which is how our bodies were originally designed to exist. Think of physiological processes like circulation, digestion, excretion, fluid transfer, oxygen exchange and many more beautifully engineered metabolic pathways that need movement to take place properly. Life exists in a constant state of motion – let’s do everything we can to help that along.
We currently live in a world that has automated itself right into an inactivity epidemic. Sadly, this is contributing to the next generation being the first ever to have a shorter life expectancy than their parents. Since our hardware does not come with a downloadable software upgrade every 4 months, this one is on you. Take it upon yourself to upgrade your own physical hardware with regular movement by choosing Newton’s tendency to stay in motion rather than rest. Your physiology will thank you!
Elizabeth Thompson R.Kin, MSc.Kin, RHEP
Completing an MSc. Kin in exercise physiology (University of Texas) after my BSc.Hon in genetics/microbiology (University of Waterloo, Ontario) gives me a unique perspective to consider the human body starting at the cellular level, progressing to larger metabolic systems and further on to the elaborate functioning of all of systems together to efficiently run the human body. Education combined with experience gives me the ability to reverse engineer symptoms back to their causes to help address root physiological problems and rehabilitate or move towards optimal performance.
After completing 600+ physician supervised hours in clinical exercise physiology, I am a Registered Clinical Exercise Physiology candidate with the American College of Sports Medicine. As a Registered Kinesiologist (R.Kin) and ongoing professional member of the Ontario Kinesiology Association and the National Fitness Leadership Alliance (RHEP 3), my professional focus includes exercise assessment / baseline testing, neuro cognitive testing, clinical exercise prescription, exercise training and physical activity counseling. Disease management includes cardiovascular, pulmonary, metabolic, orthopedic, musculoskeletal, immunological, cancer survivorship and patient education and counseling. I proudly focus on prescribing preventative measures to stay in front of pending chronic disease and injury issues. I can be found at ExRx Health International (firstname.lastname@example.org) in Synergy Wellness Centre or at www.PrescribingPrevention.com.