You may have read that many medical journals have been publishing an ever-growing collection of research linking a sedentary lifestyle to serious health problems.
That is to say, drawing a direct link between lack of physical movement as a specific cause for disease and death (i.e. sitting is the new smoking).
Ok awesome for us personal trainers right? Well darn there so close to the true answer we are wild with anticipation!
The recommendation to cure being sedentary is exercise right…well yes but…
Here’s the missing piece:
Exercise is not just moving around and getting some cardio. This is just what should be a daily norm for humans because not doing so destroys your health. The problem is WHY we slow down and become more sedentary even when we feel the side effects.
It is so simple that it is a wonder science hasn’t studied it – it’s called strength and as we age and as you do less and less you lose it. This loss causes you to move around slower and less in general and THAT is the real health risk.
Muscle loss from unused, unchallenged major muscle groups leads directly to doing everything slower and worse…less often. And here is the tricky part, you can get moving again but it won’t make you stronger. Forcing yourself to move around may slow the erosion but a weakened body gets stressed and hurt from activity (think knees, lower back, neck and shoulders). Most often in modern life people just give up and become dependant on therapy to manage discomfort and disease.
Muscle and strength is NOT built with endurance activity. Our physiology will allow us to build and maintain strength but only from weight training. Amazing as it may seem skiing, running, swimming, skating, hiking and the like DOES NOT build let alone rebuild muscle.
Take home: exercise your muscles with weights and remain mobile and active thus avoid destroying your own health.
Be well be strong
Andrew and Tierney