KEEP MOVING, SITTING IS OUR ENEMY

The human body is made to move. I would like to quote a few studies here that emphatically show how important it is for us to keep moving. 

We sit in the car, at work and at home in front of TV.  Studies by Vanderbilt University found we do this for an average of 7.7 hours a day. This was published in the American Journal of Epidemiology in 2008.


In 2010 the American Society of Cancer Research Society published the following figures in the American Journal of Epidemiology: from 1993 to 2006, the health of 123,216 people, 69,776 of whom were women, was documented. The results were alarming. For women who undertook no sporting activity, and stayed seated for six hours a day, the likelihood of their dying within that period was 94% higher than for those who were physically active and spent fewer than three hours a day sitting down. For men, the probability over the same period was 48%.


For men, the probability over the same period was 48%.


In 2010, the University of Queensland in Australia also published their findings that, even when people follow the guidelines for physical activity, remaining seated for long periods of time can lead to metabolic disorders.


This statement underlines the general findings of research into this subject which seem quite logical: that regular exercise – irrespective of the intensity – cannot compensate for too long spent sitting down.


In 2010, the University of Queensland in Australia also published their findings that, even when people follow the guidelines for physical activity, remaining seated for long periods of time can lead to metabolic disorders.

Wir sitzen also zu viel.

 

So we sit too much. Sitting makes us sick and in our part of the world, prolonged sedentary periods are among the most frequent cause of death. Whatever we do, we must make sure we get up and move more.

 

Whether we choose to do endurance training, strength training, cardio, high intensity workouts, Tabata, circuit training, boot camp, power yoga, Pilates or Zumba, the variety of programmes is almost as endless as the number of diets on offer these days. And, as is the case with food choices, science is just as ineffective at helping us choose between the dizzying array of exercise options. I myself have decided on a combination of strength and endurance training, because I am firmly convinced that a one-sided approach is not good for us.

 

Deciding on which training concept to follow and which performance level to aim for in order to get fitter, feel healthier and maintain our equilibrium is always a balancing act. Unfortunately, without pushing ourselves a little, we cannot improve. We have to leave our comfort zone.

Training always involves some kind of regular repetition. It is a process that requires regular impetus, without becoming too monotonous – and that is anything but easy to achieve. Probably the hardest thing about any sporting activity is to keep doing it on a regular basis, without always repeating the same thing over and over. The art of training lies in dodging the monotony trap, and avoiding doing too much or too little.

 

If we want to feel we are making progress, we have to push our bodies beyond certain boundaries without overdoing things. Despite all the technical aids out there to support us with our exercise and measure our progress and setbacks, there is nothing better than having a good feel for your own body.

Training not only means stimulating the muscles and circulation to a certain extent but also the entire body with all its complex metabolic processes and neuromuscular pathways. Motivation is important and helps us persevere. When we start seeing the effect of our efforts, everything becomes easier and we begin to experience pleasure along with the pain, when those mood-enhancing endorphins are finally released.

Have the courage to experiment in order to test your own boundaries and experience the feeling of body balance and wellness.

Moving Bewegung corroborates the positve effects of the inflammation.

Inflammation connects us to our environment

You will be aware of the widespread view that inflammation is present in diseases like infections or chronic illnesses like atherosclerosis, cardiovascular diseases, tumours, Type 2 diabetes, multiple sclerosis and inflammatory bowel disorders. But inflammation is more than just something that makes us sick.

As already illustrated by the Inflammation Tree analogy, inflammation arises from interaction between the immune, autonomic nervous and endocrine systems. When these systems cooperate and control the body as the stress system, the inflammation persists only at an underlying level and is therefore undetectable. You will be in good spirits and feel well.

 

In the mucous membranes of the stomach, intestines and bronchial tubes in particular, such underlying inflammatory processes are of central importance. Imagine a densely woven filter network that connects us to the outside world and regulates our communication with the millions and millions of molecules like nutrients, viruses and bacteria we encounter every minute of our lives.

Bacteria help regulate and control inflammation

 

Each of us has our own characteristic intestinal flora. But not only our intestines are densely packed with bacteria, as the bronchial tubes, urinary tract, breastmilk and even the uterus are full of these long-underrated living organisms which are so essential to our wellbeing. These bacteria are part of the inflammatory processes simmering away in the background on a low and gentle heat. They stimulate, curb and support the gut with its vital digestive work.

 

This extremely complex, tightly woven system of networked bacteria on the fringes of the body supports the immune system, nervous system and the hormones with the necessary control work. So far, 400 kinds of bacteria have been discovered, which make up 1.5 kg of our body weight. They are an integral part of the digestive work of the body and a major determinant of our interaction with the environment.

 

A steady stream of bacteria, viruses, trace elements and thousands and thousands of macro-molecules from our food, like carbohydrates, enzymes and protein, constantly flows through our bodies. Whether or not they do us any good is decided over and over again on a perpetual basis and primarily depends on how intact the communication channels within this finely tuned filter system are at any given time. Whether or not a pathogen or a molecule triggers an illness is also determined by the same condition. So there is no good or bad per se here. 

In summary, inflammation is basically a physiological process and a major determinant of our state of health. As long as it remains an underlying force, no inflammation parameters will be traceable in the blood. Regulation of all systems goes like clockwork. Illness and discomfort begin when the inflammatory processes become out of control. Imagine the body as like a sea. When the surface of the water is smooth and still, we feel good and when the waves start to ripple, or even foam at the tips, we feel sick. The balance and regulation of the body has been disrupted.

So what does all this have to do with exercise?

 

A range of studies show that moderate physical exercise stimulates the stress system in a very positive way. It has proved successful in, for instance, lowering the tumour markers of breast cancer.

So an active lifestyle helps reduce the probability of an underlying inflammation growing to become a chronic disease. As already mentioned, chronic inflammation is the cold fire that nurtures chronic diseases like cardio-vascular disorders, Type 2 diabetes, tumours and auto-immune diseases. So I repeat, spending too much time sitting down is our biggest risk factor for disease.

Exercise, but don’t overdo it

 

Sporting activity induces a certain amount of stress on the body. That stimulus has a positive effect if you notice an improvement in your physical performance but it may have negative consequences if you take on too much. If you still feel tired and exhausted after two to three days, your body balance is under threat. You have to give yourself more time to rest. When you succeed in managing your physical activity within the right boundaries and in such a way that it does not compromise your immune system, autonomic nervous system and/or endocrine system, you can be sure that sport will act a preventative measure for a long and healthy life. But please bear in mind that other factors such as genetic disposition and nutrition also play a role in fitness.