The “Sitting Disease”

The past few days in Maryland have been FRIGID, which makes it even harder to find motivation to get out of a warm bed and head to the gym in the morning. However, after 4 long days of sitting during recruitment meetings, I was SO antsy to get moving. While I was there, an interesting story was on CNN about the “sitting disease”. Of course, this is not a REAL disease that can contract. But the more I thought about it, the more I realized that this so called disease is in some sense “contagious” and could have just as many adverse affects as any other disease.

One phrase that comes to mind when I think about this is “move it or lose it”. The more time you spend sitting around, the more your muscles and bones waste away, the weaker you get. Unfortunately for Americans, it is easy to “catch” the sitting disease. So many jobs don’t even require you to leave your desk! When I worked at The NIH I was miserable having to sit for entire 8 hour shifts. I would try to break up the day into 30 minute segments and at the end of each I would do a few lunges, bicep curls, or jog around the building just one time. These things take no more than 5 minutes and make such a difference in the long run. Try to incorporate more exercise into your day, especially you have a job like I did at The NIH. Also, remember to stay active after you come home from work. Go for a walk outside (weather permitting), or clean your house for an hour. Every little bit helps!

As an under 25 dietetics student, my professors have always stressed to me how important it is to build muscle and bone mass early in life. Women reach their peak bone density (in their early 20’s) earlier than most men do. Back to my “move it or lose it” point, if you aren’t performing weight bearing exercise on a regular basis (lifting, running, swimming), your bones will quickly (more quickly for women) deteriorate. While it is possible to build bone density later in life, it is much harder. So get active, stay active, prevent yourself from getting the sitting disease, and protect your muscles, bones, and body!

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