Did you know that the average American sits for approximately 13 hours per day? Assuming they’re also getting the recommended 8 hours of sleep per night, that’s 21 sedentary hours per day! Shockingly, research suggests that if you sit for 23 hours per day you have a 64% greater likelihood of dying from heart disease than your physically active friends (Valero‐Elizondo et. al. 2016). Those statistics are absolutely unacceptable to me, and it’s a large part of what fueled my desire to write Desk Job Fit. I want to help as many people as possible change their lifestyle habits for the better. Whether you’re someone who’s never exercised in your life, or you have a regular gym routine but you’re confined to a desk for work, this eBook will be an eye-opening and informative read.
If you consider yourself to be a fitness junkie who works a 9-to-5 desk job, you may think you’re doing the right things to lead yourself towards optimal health. While participating in an exercise routine is an excellent start, you should also consider that your workouts are only going to take up approximately 30 minutes to two hours of your 24-hour day. Assuming you get even a two-hour workout but you spend the rest of your day lounging around, only ~8.3% of your day involved physical activity of some sort! Of course that’s better than nothing, but we can all do better to minimize the discrepancy of sedentarism versus physical activity.
If on the other hand your goal is to lose weight, then perhaps you’re unsure of where to start and how. Many people assume that leading a physically active life means abandoning the foods and activities that they love completely. Quite the contrary! There are plenty of ways to eat well and exercise that don’t involve grueling 3-hour long workouts or insanely restrictive diets. In fact making small changes can go a long way, especially in the beginning stages of your fitness journey.
You might be surprised to learn that standing for the majority of the day will burn approximately 30,000 additional calories per year when compared with maintaining a seated position (Belcher et. al. 2015). Regular walks have been shown in countless studies to reduce blood pressure, Type II Diabetes risk (Garret et. al. 2016), and many other diseases. Effectively, choosing to walk and stand rather than sit can have a tremendous positive influence on your overall well-being.
As a personal trainer and a strength and conditioning coach, I’ve worked with clients from elite athletes, to energetic young kids, to 75-year-olds in the early stages of Alzheimer’s. Regardless of where you fall in that spectrum, all of us have similar requirements for movement. The exact exercise intensity and volume will vary slightly, but the foundational movements will not. The fundamental tasks of our biology range from squatting to sprinting to throwing to carrying. The human body is a miraculous work of art that is suited for a multitude of different physical feats. Once we learn how to harness our true potential our possibilities become endless! The unfortunate part is that our bodies also operate on a “if you don’t use it, you lose it” model. So if you’re wasting away on the couch everyday, your muscles will begin to atrophy, your posture will assume the position in which you spend the most time, your hips will become tight, your metabolism will slow down, and your cardiovascular function will decline.
All of these adaptations can be reversed at any time, should you decide to make changes in your life. If you so choose, you can become just like the chiseled bodybuilders you see on social media, and you can absolutely train to run crazy endurance races (and if that’s not what you’re after, that’s perfectly fine too). These accomplishments require years of dedication and hard work, but it all starts with one small step in the right direction. Even if your goal is simply to improve your quality of life and lose a few pounds, it’s never too late to start!