By: Katie Verburg
Katie Verburg is a personal trainer who is currently studying to become a certified holistic health coach. Here, she writes about the benefits of physical activity.
In today’s digital world, we’re sitting more than ever before. Leading a mostly sedentary lifestyle isn’t beneficial and may lead to a series of health issues. Astonishingly enough, the average American spends 9-10 hours of his or her day sitting. Exercise alone can’t counteract the effects of too much sitting.
Research shows that when you have been sitting for a long period of time and then get up to move around, several things happen in the body. Within an estimated 90 seconds of standing up, the body processes blood sugar levels, triglycerides, and cholesterol, which are all controlled by insulin and are all activated simply by standing up. It’s proof that our bodies are designed to be active and moving all day long.
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Walking around and moving throughout the day isn’t considered a way to significantly increase cardiovascular fitness or muscle strength, but it does offer great benefits. Not only does stepping away from your desk and taking a mid-day walk improve the cellular systems within the body, but it also improves mood, calms the mind, reduces work-related stresses, and ultimately improves quality of life.
When getting 10,000 steps in, the benefits that come along with that level of activity are as follows:
A Stronger Heart
The more movement one can squeeze into each day, the healthier the heart is. The greater the stroke volume – or how much blood the heart pumps per beat – the greater the aerobic capacity. Long story short, aerobic capacity is a great predictor of disease risk.
Improved Cognitive Performance
Daily movement, such as meeting a step goal, allows for the brain to learn new tasks, grow new brain cells, and push cognitive decline away. Even the smallest burst of movement can help the brain reorganize, repair, and adapt to new situations. Not only that, but walking has also been shown to create new growth in the hippocampus – the area of the brain that regulates emotion and memory.
Meeting a daily step goal one day allows for a drive to meet that same goal the following day. Behavioral change is dependent upon creating habits. And when habits and goals are met, it makes people feel good, therefore leading them to want to repeat this habit.
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In many cases, the lack of weight loss in Americans simply comes from a general lack of movement. Many people will take fitness classes, personal training, and never miss a workout; however, when other factors of their life aren’t functioning properly, it doesn’t matter how many classes one takes. Simply put, due to the fact that the majority of Americans spend more than half of their day sitting, getting up and moving to walk around is a great way to start a healthier lifestyle. Simply walking and general movement overall is one of the best ways that one can reap the benefits of weight loss.
Want to ditch the sedentary lifestyle? Here are some tips to get moving:
- Park further away when going somewhere.
- Walk the aisles at the grocery store or shopping mall.
- If you have a dog, take the dog for a morning or evening walk.
- Take a short walk outside on your lunch break.
- Take the stairs whenever possible.
And of course, as is the case with any type of physical activity, staying hydrated is important. Start incorporating a collagen drink like Vital Proteins Collagen Water to your daily routine to help meet your hydration goals.