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The Secret to Reversing the Health Risks Common to a Sedentary Life

18th July 2013
sedentary lifestyle could be putting you at risk

Chances are, you live a pretty sedentary life.

It isn’t completely your fault—we’ve all got to work, and your job probably doesn’t involve much movement.

In a recent study, Anne Grunseit, Ph.D., from the Prevention Research Collaboration in the School of Public Health at the University of Sydney, Australia, along with Norwegian colleagues, investigated the relationship between occupational sitting, body mass index (BMI), and mortality in a general population sample from 1995-1997. About 30% of study participants reported having an occupation in which they were mostly sitting (1).

Depending on your current age and when you retire, you could have as much as 45 years of this kind of work ahead of you. Have you ever thought about the health effects of sitting for 8 hours a day, for 5 days a week, for 50 weeks a year, for 45 years of your life? That’s 90,000 hours of sitting. And if you sit in front of the computer or TV screen for even just two hours a night after work you can tack on another 22,500 hours.

90,000 + 22,500 = 112,500 hours of sitting.

Being sedentary—sitting for 90,000 hours of your life—puts you at risk for serious health issues. Supporting ourselves with a chair all day reduces the effect of gravity on our body, which tells our bodies we don’t need as much muscle to hold us up.

Muscle burns calories whereas fat stores calories, and losing muscle means losing valuable metabolism. This leads to weight gain and all its dangerous side effects, including obesity, diabetes, and heart disease (2). If you want to avoid these kinds of problems you’d better fit some physical activity into your routine.

Easier said than done, right? We all have an endless stream of demands on our time, and the thought of setting aside even a little portion of our hectic schedule can be enough to raise our blood pressure.

boiling kettle potBefore you boil over, read on. We can’t make all your commitments disappear, but we can tell you about whole body vibration, and how it can help you squeeze all the life-giving benefits of exercise out of just 10 minutes a day.

Sitting and muscle loss

First, let’s look more closely at the muscle loss associated with too much sitting. This loss of muscle used to be associated with aging but is now seen in people of all ages thanks to our inactive lifestyles. A recent study shows that patients on bed rest lose as much as 30% of muscle weight. While a sedentary lifestyle does not exactly imitate bed rest, muscle loss in sedentary individuals can get close to those levels (3).

The problem with sitting so much is that it tells our brains we don’t need as much muscle. It works like this:

  1. Using proprioceptors, our muscles relay information to our brains about the forces acting on our bodies.
  2. This tells our brains how hard our muscles have to work to keep us upright.
  3. Less gravity means our proprioceptors tell the brain that not as much muscle is needed.
  4. In bedridden, or very inactive individuals, or in astronauts exposed to the microgravity of space, this leads to a severe loss in muscle mass.

Whole body vibration and muscle gain

The good news is, tricking the brain into thinking the body is heavier can reverse this effect. Increasing the gravity or contact force perceived by the body—like when we make ourselves heavier by lifting weights at the gym—means our proprioceptors tell the brain to work harder and build up more muscle. More muscle means a higher metabolism, which reduces your risk for being overweight and for the associated health risks.

But weight training, while beneficial, may not be ideal for everyone. Some people are uninterested in or unable to perform a traditional exercise and may feel hopeless about ever being fit.

With whole body vibration, exercise is easy and unintimidating. You train on a rapidly vibrating platform. The upward movement of the platform simulates a higher-gravity environment—much like how a rapidly-ascending elevator makes you feel momentarily heavy–sending your brain those muscle-building signals you’re looking for.

A quality whole body vibration machine simulates this feeling hundreds of times a minute through the up-and-down movement of the platform. This results in stronger muscles, a faster metabolism, and all the health benefits associated with that.

The best part of all for those of us working long hours at desk jobs—all these benefits come from a simple, 10-minute workout, ideally performed three times a week. Not only that, but with its minimal footprint, a vibration platform fits into anyone’s home or office, making it a viable option for anyone looking to get out of their chair and fit in a workout.

Download our infographic detailing the benefits of whole body vibration.

Chances are, you’re going to be sitting for a long time. Take a few moments out of those 90,000 hours to look into whole body vibration. Better health can be yours for only 10 minutes a day.

Do you sit a lot at your job? Let us know in the comments.






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