The Sitting Dilema

The day in the life of a typical American goes something like this: wake up, shower, sit while reading the paper and having coffee, get in the car to sit 30 minutes while driving to work, sit at a desk for eight hours while performing work, get in the car, sit in the car while driving 30 minutes to the gym, sit at the gym while performing exercises, get in the car, sit until home is reached, come inside, sit down to relax while watching TV and eating dinner, and then go to bed.  Something is clearly wrong with this picture, and the fact that most machines at the gym are done sitting certainly doesn’t help matters any.  Sitting doesn’t bode well for people’s health.  In fact, researchers conclude all this sitting leads to an increase in metabolic syndrome (http://www.sixwise.com/Newsletters/2009/April/22/Americans-Spend-Many-Hours-a-Day-Watching-Screens.htm).  What can be done about this?  Obviously, some portions of our day require sitting, such as driving and eating, but others don’t.  More people are turning to things like standing desks to make sure they reduce the amount they sit.  Others make sure they get up and walk around the office regularly and some use their lunch break to exercise.  Speaking of exercise, something everyone should avoid at the gym is sitting down.  Clearly, we do enough of that in our regularly lives.  It is not something we need to practice while at the gym; rather, sitting while exercising perpetuates many of the faulty mechanics we have developed after all of those hours sitting.  The best way to not sit at the gym is to avoid machines.  If you can sit while performing a chest press, you can definitely stand while doing a cable chest press.   You could even make it more challenging for yourself and do a single arm split stance chest press with the cables to work on dynamic stabilization of the core.  Even if you aren’t very familiar with strength training and use machines because they are easy, look at the motion you are doing with the machine and move it over to the cable cross to perform while standing up.  Or, make an appointment to meet with a trainer to get some ideas of exercises you can do while standing.  The more you get away from sitting, the healthier you will be.