When you sit for prolonged periods, your body is forced into compromised positions, which leads to compromised function. And when you sit all day, you simply don’t move enough. Working out will certainly make you healthier overall, but it’s not a time machine that can undo the sedentary choices that you make over the rest of the day. The deterioration process may be slow, it is methodical, and if left unchecked, it eventually will have a huge impact on all aspects of your life, including your resiliency and performance.
There is a difference between exercise and non-exercise activity. Exercise typically means activities like running or weight training. Despite the intensity of the workout, you usually do it for a relatively short period. Non-exercise activity is what you do when you’re not exercising at high intensity - things like standing, walking, gardening, cooking and even fidgeting.
A standing body body uses energy quite differently than a sitting body. Depending on our level of activity, we burn calories at different rates, and we also store calories differently. Someone who is desk bound for eight hours a day burns approximately 300 NEAT (Non-Exercise Activity Thermogenesis) calories during that period. In comparison, someone who is not desk bound, such as a waiter, burns around 1,300 NEAT calories. That’s a difference of 1,000 calories! Over time that calorie variance can be the difference between being thin and being obese. And for someone who is desk bound and doesn’t exercise it could quickly lead to obesity and all the negative health consequences that go along with it.
A sitting body doesn’t expend much energy. The signals that normally are sent as a result of moving and burning calories literally turn off. Simultaneously the processes that store fat are summoned to duty. The result: people with low levels of non-exercise activity are predisposed to obesity. On top of that comes back pain, neck pain, carpal tunnel, shoulder restrictions and all chronic conditions.
The point is, exercising 1 hour a day isn’t enough to combat what you do the other 23 hours a day. So you need to move well, move more and perform basic maintenance on your body. Undoing the ravages of a lifetime of working against your body's design requires some work. You may have to relearn how to stand, sit and how to walk. You will need to perform basic maintenance on your body and create new habits. In the beginning, you will need to obsess over your posture by constantly checking and correcting yourself until you have trained your body to move the way it was intended to move. As a corrective exercise specialist, I can help you achieve the upside to all that effort. Imagine being pain-free and being able to move like you did as a child, and how significantly that will improve your quality of life.