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From the Couch to Fitness: Simple Ways to Be More Active

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What scientists have learned is that the human body is designed for walking. The sitting posture exerts forces on the body that are not natural for us to handle. The analysis showed that for individuals who have a sedentary lifestyle, the risks of diabetes, cardiovascular events and death from cardiovascular causes increase significantly.

Dr. Anup Kanodia, a functional medicine specialist who is the founder of KonodiaMD in the US, has said that “sitting is the new smoking.” The investigation concluded that for every hour individuals spend sitting on the couch to watch TV, their lifespan is shortened by 22 minutes. On the other hand, it’s estimated that a smoker’s lifespan is shortened by about 11 minutes for each cigarette. Why is sitting linked to a shorter lifespan? Not only is it inefficient in burning calories, but it also has been demonstrated to limit the body’s making of lipoprotein lipase, an enzyme that converts bad cholesterol into good.

How much physical activity do people need? In general, the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that adults ages 18 to 64 should have at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise per week, with two days a week of muscle-strengthening activities. Brisk walking is a great example of a moderate-intensity exercise. However, don’t let it discourage you if you really can’t commit to establishing a regular exercise routine. Remember that any form of movement is better than none.

Let’s explore some tips to get more active. Climbing stairs requires no equipment or skills and can be done at any time. Five minutes of climbing stairs can help burn up to 150 calories. Additionally, taking the stairs can also help you improve cardiovascular fitness and lower the risk of stroke. As a rule of thumb, avoid sitting for more than 30-45 minutes at one time and remember to get up from your chair occasionally. You may set an alarm to remind yourself to pause for a few minutes so you can get up to stretch, walk around or do a round of jumping jacks. For example, you can do static lunges, which are great for working your major muscles of the hips, glutes, and thighs.
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