In my ongoing reading and research I came across an article in the October 2009 IDEA Fitness Journal that talked about “an emerging field of research called inactivity physiology”.  ……What the?!…..  This new field involves “the study of sitting for extended periods of time and the biological ramifications associated with too much of this kind of behavior.”

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As someone who’s degree is technically in Kinesiology (the study of muscular movement, especially the mechanics of human motion), this is stunning to me.  Does this mean there’s an opposite version of me somewhere out there?  A doppleganger of sorts?  The Anti-Jenny.

Our society has gotten to the point where we have to study mashing our butts flat all day?  Unfortunately, it has.

Here’s the summation of the article, and you’re going to want to STAND UP for this one:  “Too much sitting is hazardous to one’s heath, regardless of whether one meets the minimal daily exercise guidelines or not.”  Getting in a good 30-45 minute workout each day will not counteract the fact that we may spend the other 15 hours of the day sitting.  They also found that even among physically active people there was a strong correlation between sitting and mortality risk.

It makes sense if you think about it.  Our ancestors didn’t sit around all day on the prairie or savannah and then do 45 minutes of movement.  They pretty much moved around ALL DAY.  Hunting, farming, walking, working, chores, cooking….  All of it took a lot of energy and kept them very busy.  Our strength as a species developed from adapting to hardship (and our giant brains).  

We’re still adapting as a species, and it’s not good.  We’re adapting to sitting for long periods by losing muscle mass, cardiovascular capacity, increasing fat mass, back pain and our risk for many diseases.  Here’s a tweet by ToddNarsonDC (retweet from someone else I follow – not endorsing, just quoting) just yesterday “2.6 mill yrs eating like a caveman; 50 yrs eating w/ FDA & McDonalds.  All of a sudden we’re sick.  Cavemen were smarter”.  Adaptation in action.

Move more.  I’ve blogged about this topic and I encourage you to read it as it’s got strategies for getting more movement both at work and at home.  

Let’s see if we can put these inactivity physiologists out of work!