Is Sitting the New Smoking?

You probably have heard by now that too much sitting is bad for your health, but is it as bad as smoking? There has been a lot written about the subject, and many facts to back up this idea.

The term “sitting disease” has been coined in the scientific community when referring to ill-effects of an overly sedentary lifestyle.

According to the Mayo Clinic, prolonged periods of sitting can lead to health concerns such as increased blood pressure, high blood sugar and excess body fat, as well as an increase in cardiovascular disease and cancer.

Any extended sitting at a desk, behind a wheel or in front of a computer screen can be harmful.

Studies have shown that subjects who sat for more than 8 hours a day with no physical activity had a similar risk of dying as those risks posed by smoking and obesity.

That is scary! But there is hope!

First if all, physically activity contributes to your overall health. Studies have also shown that moving during your time sitting will help offset the negative effects.

Here a few suggestions:

  • Take a break from sitting every 20 minutes; get up walk around.
  • Stand while talking on the phone or watching TV.
  • If you work primarily at a desk, try using a standing desk.
  • Walk with your colleagues to meetings.
  • Park farther away from stores and restaurants.
  • Use the stairs!

Every bit of movement you add to your day will add up to counter the negative effects of prolonged sitting. Think of it as food. If you were to eat one cookie per day for a year, you will gain 5 pounds. The impact of movement can be profound, and it’s cumulative just like the cookie.

So get up! Go for a walk! Move that body!

Is Coffee Good For You Before You Workout

I have had many conversations about the benefits of drinking coffee, yet different research studies provide conflicting evidence as to whether it’s good for you or not. For the record I drink coffee every morning, and my husband loads up before and during his longer bike rides.

Legend has it that a goat herder named Kaldi first discovered coffee beans in the 15th century. He noticed that his goats became so energetic after eating berries from a certain tree that they did not want to sleep at night.

Today, about 64 percent of the U.S. population drinks coffee, consuming 400 million cups per day, or 146 billion cups per year. This makes the U.S. the leading consumer of coffee in the world. Coffee represents 75% of all the caffeine consumed in the U.S. That’s a lot of coffee!!

The good news is that coffee is good for you in moderation (up to 400 mg of caffeine per day), which is the equivalent of about four nine-ounce cups.

But is good before a Workout? The answer is yes!

Drinking coffee in the morning before exercise will give you energy and will work to accelerate the benefits of exercise; stimulating energy production and fat burning. In other words, it helps boost your energy helping you work out harder! Perhaps the greatest benefit of having coffee before your workout is the high amounts of caffeine in black coffee will increase your metabolism which makes you burn more calories throughout the day. Coffee can increase your metabolism by up to 20 percent!

Besides providing you with a temporary metabolic boost, other functional benefits of a pre-workout cup of coffee include:

1. Improved micro-circulation for better blood flow through the capillaries.

2. Pain reduction leading to less muscle soreness.

3. Improved endurance which can lead to improved exercise performance by more than 11 percent.

4. Muscle preservation to help maintain more youthful muscle tissue.

5. Improved memory for up to 24 hours.

The recommended amount of coffee is one 8-9-ounce cup about one hour before your workout. Caffeine is quickly absorbed from the stomach within 15 to 45 minutes of consumption, but it hits its peak stimulatory effects between 30 and 75 minutes.

Have a great workout!

Why Flexibility is Important

Flexibility is needed to perform everyday activities with ease. To get out of bed, lift children, or play our favorite sports we need flexibility.

When we age flexibility tends to deteriorate, and our muscles and joints become stiff. In turn we think we cannot move well and blame it on getting old!

But all this can change! Stretching your body on a regular basis can improve your flexibility. Simple stretches can give you more range of motion and help prevent the chance of experiencing occasional and chronic pain.

Here a few stretches to get you started:

  1. Stand tall reach for the ceiling with both arms then fold at the hips and reach for your toes keeping knees soft. Let you head and neck and shoulders release look at your knees. Hold for 20 seconds.
  2. Lay on your back, keep head and shoulders on the floor, bring one one to chest then repeat with other leg. Hold for 20 seconds.
  3. Hands and knees on floor, slowly sit back on heals, go as far as your knees will allow. (Childs pose) Hold for 20 seconds as illustrated below.

Stretching will enhance your quality of life, so get started today!