If we look at the statistics around physical activity in the U.S. and the progressing trends in the world, we see that sedentary behavior (sitting) is rampant for desk workers. With recent years causing a hurried shift toward remote and hybrid work, more people are finding themselves sitting and moving far less. The solution that jumps to the forefront for most? Exercise! We believe that exercise will fix all of the issues of sedentary behavior.
Per U.S. government guidelines the activity required for an adult is 150 minutes of moderate intensity physical activity such as fast walking and 2 sessions of muscle strength training per week. While this is a fantastic starting point, since 80% of Americans do not meet these guidelines, it does not fully counteract the hours of sitting and poor diets to which we easily default. The amount of activity described is sufficient to help keep the cardiovascular and musculoskeletal systems strong, but overlooks much of flexibility, mobility, and general ability to perform daily tasks.
There are four key areas that need to be included to make sure we have the best movement possible. Cardio and strength training are only two of them. These are addressed more in depth in the Love to Move Course, but I would like to cover the basics here.
The four areas are:
They are listed in this specific order because this is the importance they have on our longevity and well being. It does not do you nearly as much good to start strength training if you spend the rest of the day on your couch. Should you perform strengthening exercises? Yes, absolutely yes, but you should have all the other parts in play if you want to have a successful and well rounded physical well-being.
Here is a quick and effective way to use this structure. Start with adding small bits of movement throughout your day. Make sure to limit sitting to 1 hour at a time to start, but eventually it is ideal to limit sitting to 20-30 minutes. Once you are frequently moving throughout the day, add stretching and body weight movements to keep the body mobile and limber. This addresses mobility. You can now add in walking, running, or biking for cardiovascular health. At this point your day is filled with movement, you have good control of your body and range of motion through mobility and your endurance and energy for daily tasks has increased. You can now add strength training to help bolster the rest of these parts. All of them work together to give you the best quality of life. If you would like to learn about the exact timing and duration please look at the Love to Move Course which also teaches you how to implement habit formation so that these changes stick. Start with movement, make sure you are mobile and then add in traditional exercise. This is the path to longevity.