Skill Introduction – Move More
Are you familiar with sitting disease? While not a technical medical term, sitting disease refers to the collective effects of metabolic syndrome and a sedentary lifestyle. Metabolic syndrome includes high blood pressure, high blood sugar, extra body fat around the waist and abnormal cholesterol or triglyceride levels. This set of conditions increases the risk of heart disease, stroke and diabetes. In 2012, it was estimated that over one-third of the American population has metabolic syndrome (1).
- On average, we spend 12 hours sedentary each day (2).
- Physical inactivity is the 4th leading risk factor for mortality globally (2).
- It is estimated that 3.2 million deaths each year are related in some way to physical inactivity (2).
Historians believe that hunters and gatherers of the Paleo period had a natural cycle of intermittent activity which included 1 or 2 days of intense and strenuous exercise as they accomplished necessary tasks for living such as hunting. The period of intense exertion was followed by 1 or 2 days of rest and celebration. However, days of rest and celebration usually included light to moderate physical activity as they traveled up to 20 miles round trip to visit nearby villages and held celebratory dances in their own villages (3).
Every part of your body, including your brain, benefits from exercise and can help you stay mentally sharp, sleep better and can even help with depression. As the Paleo era has been replaced with the era of computer and desk work, many of us can spend most of our day just sitting. If you can relate, you don’t have to run a marathon tomorrow to make a difference in your health. Studies have shown that simply standing versus sitting has many benefits, and that walking can do even more for your health.
Opting to stand and work rather than sit has been shown to improve (2):
- Bone health
- Brain function and focus
- Heart health
- Muscle tone
Standing versus sitting has also been shown to decrease the risk of (2):
- Cardiovascular disease
- Risk of early mortality
Ideally, how much physical activity do we need? For adults, the Department of Health & Human Services recommends (4):
- Two hours and 30 minutes to five hours each week of aerobic activity (such as walking) at a moderate intensity level or one hour & 15 minutes to two hours and 30 minutes each week of aerobic activity at a vigorous level. An equivalent combination of moderate and vigorous intensity is appropriate. See Movement & Mechanics for more examples of aerobic activities.
- Strength building activities at a moderate or greater intensity and that involve all major muscle groups at least two days a week. See Movement & Mechanics for more examples of aerobic activities.
In addition, the Department of Health & Human Services states that five hours or more of exercise each week is better, and that aerobic activity should be spread out over the course of the week (4).
Many experts agree that meeting the above physical activity recommendations does not compensate for sitting too much, and in addition to the exercise recommendations above, it is important to alternate between sitting and standing every 30 minutes. The HHS guidelines also state that adults should “move more and sit less (4).”
To help you succeed in this skill, the Zero 2 Healthy Human challenges will guide you and your tribe step-by-step from a sedentary lifestyle to becoming a moving more master by challenging you to sit less and move more.
- Exercise library: https://www.acefitness.org/education-and-resources/lifestyle/exercise-library/
- At home exercise ideas: https://www.acefitness.org/education-and-resources/lifestyle/blog/6593/top-25-at-home-exercises
- Fun facts about walking: https://acewebcontent.azureedge.net/assetportfoliodownloads/WalkingFunFacts-2015.pdf
- Walking Workouts: https://www.fitnessmagazine.com/workout/cardio/walking/
- Centers for Disease Control, Metabolic Syndrome Prevalence by Race/Ethnicity and Sex in the United States, National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, 1988-2012 (2017), Accessed October 30th, 2018 < https://www.cdc.gov/pcd/issues/2017/16_0287.htm>
- JustStand.org, The facts, Accessed October 30th, 2018, <https://www.juststand.org/the-facts/>
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Historical background and evolution of physical activity recommendations, Accessed October 31st, 2018 <https://www.cdc.gov/nccdphp/sgr/intro2.htm>.
- Department of Health and Human Services, Physical activity guidelines for Americans, Accessed November 14th, 2018 <https://www.hhs.gov/fitness/be-active/physical-activity-guidelines-for-americans/index.html>.