Move It or Lose It - Inactivity Is The New Smoking

Updated: Oct 9, 2018



It's well known that prolonged sitting and inactivity is unhealthy, but did you know it increases your risk for all-cause mortality? Sitting is being termed 'the new smoking' and many people are now aware of the negative health consequences of being inactive. Inactivity compromises every system in our body, but has severe negative implications for circulation, cellular health, lymphatic waste removal (which requires movement), digestion, brain health and the fascial system.

Our modern lifestyle has 'outsourced' much of the movement our ancestors used to perform on a daily basis. Our ancestors didn't need to 'exercise' because their day was highly active. Today we no longer grow or even prepare our food, walk long distances, or hand wash our clothes. Many of us hire gardeners, dog walkers, house cleaners, chefs, personal shoppers, and more, which saves us time, but costs us the nourishing movement that benefits our health.

More exercise won't offset inactivity

A common misconception is that people think they are safe from the dangers of inactivity because they exercise often, but studies show that even moderate intensity exercise isn't enough to offset the health risks associated with prolonged sitting. In fact sedentary adults share many of the symptoms of astronauts returning to Earth.

Exercising for an hour a day doesn't offset the negative effects of being inactive for the remainder of the day. The solution to offsetting inactivity isn't more structured exercise, it's more intermittent physical activity. That is, we need to find opportunities to include small bouts of movement into our daily lives to break up long periods of inactivity.

Variety is the spice of life and this is especially true when it comes to building a healthy system. Dr Joan Vernikos, former NASA director and author of 'Sitting Kills, Moving Heals' says we need to develop G-habits which are constant deviations in posture. In other words, we need to constantly vary our bodies position, by moving more.

As we stand on earth we are subject to 1 G-Force. Laying down is 1 G-force, walking is 1.3-1.5, running 1.6-2.3, and jumping can be up to 6G Force. Vibration training can take your gravitational pull up to 8 G force in any position, providing powerful benefits for those seeking more variable movement for health.

So which kind of movement is best?

Movement variety is important for a well nourished body. Many training programs train muscles, but neglect to train movement, which is what most of as are missing for healthy aging and vitality. Training localised muscle segments to enhance lean muscle and body composition is important and beneficial, but it doesn't equate to improved movement efficiency, mobility and health of the interconnected system.

'We're finding it difficult to be nourished by exercise as we do it today, because not only is it infrequent (you know you need to move more, yes?) but also, although the whole body can benefit to a point when only some of the parts are working, these exercises we're choosing work very few of our parts.' - Katy Bowman, Movement Matters

Movement training creates a more robust body, pumps the lymphatic system, and helps segments of our body remember that they work together for superior strength and function. Injuries happen when the parts stop working together, so a big part of building a resilient body, is training all parts for a team effort. Training movements means that our body and brain are able to mitigate forces through the entire system. If more parts can shock absorb and work together, there is less strain in any one part.

The answer to the sedentary problem isn't finding time to exercise muscles more, it's about finding ways to move more of your parts as a system, more often.

'There's a movement diet, so to speak, and it's not nourishing us fully; there are diseases and ailments erupting in groups of humans who move certain ways (or don't art all). We're trying to figure out how to spot-treat each person with different movement vitamins while missing a larger issue altogether. Our culturally approved ways of moving aren't meeting our needs.' - Katy Bowman, Movement Matters

Ground To Standing Drills

To get the best bang for your movement buck, we recommend whole body movements where you shift your bodies position relative to gravity, known as ground to standing drills. The biggest change one can make in their posture is going from a crouching or curled up position on the floor, into a stretched out or standing position one.

Ground to standing movements improve the hydrodynamics in your body by increasing pressure which facilitates the flow of liquids (blood, lymph and water) though your body. By crouching and compressing joints, tissue and muscles in ground to standing movements, tissues and joints experience increased hydration, which results in enhanced joint mechanics, and better coordination through the neuromuscular system.

Getting down to the ground and up again is important for health, and has been correlated with healthy aging. The Sitting Rising Test (SRT) measures ones ability to get down and up from the floor without assistance, and good scores on this test are equated with healthy aging and a reduction in mortality. Each time a knee or hand is used to assist, or balance is compromised, a point is lost. Each point increase in the SRT score was associated with a 21 percent decrease in mortality from all causes. *Image borrowed from here


Strategies To Reduce Prolonged Postures

  • Avoid using pedometers as an indicator of your daily movement as they tend to reflect quantity, not quality of movement.

  • Try setting an alarm at work for every 30-45 minutes to remind yourself to move, even if it's just 5 simple squats, or lay on the floor and get up again! Any movement to your whole body is a good option.

  • If this is too frequent, you can try doing 4 structured bouts of 15 minute movement per day which is certainly better than nothing!

  • Get down to the floor, and get back up again and try to do it differently each time! You'll be surprised at how amazing you feel after doing this for even 1 minute!

  • Get an adjustable sit to stand desk if you can afford it and sit for an hour, then stand for an hour and in between do some movement. Standing desks help reduce some of the adverse health risks, but they do not solve the problem of inactivity because the body is still largely still. Too much of any static posture, is not ideal for a body designed to move.

  • Attend our de-stress, De-fuzz classes to get 30 minutes of nourishing low intensity movement into your day.

  • Book a powerplate session to experience a high volume training session in less time due to the elevated G-Force and 3D whole body vibration.

  • Drink 3 litres of water a day so that at least you have to move to go to the toilet! Hydration isn't a measure of how much you drink, it's a measure of how much you drink, and how well and often you move! By incorporating more movements through your day you can help improve hydration, energy, brain function and more.

  • Try our Move It or Lose It guided movement program for 10 minutes of low intensity daily movement.

Movement is not medicine, it's essential! Move it, or you will lose it!


#movement #sitting #healthyaging

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