Is sitting going to kill you? Is sitting the new tobacco?
The invention of the radio, television, and internet were all revolutionary for human society. News and entertainment were able to spread into the homes of everyone who could afford it.
However, the side effect of these technological advancements put your butt on a couch for hours on end.
When adults used to walk to the city square to get their information by newspaper, now they stay sitting in the comfort of their home. And kids who used to play kickball and capture the flag (what a great game) in the yard, are now glued to their iPad playing games on their bed.
Besides the social effects of this, the problem for your health is you’re spending far more hours sitting than you are being active.
Prolonged sitting can cause weight gain because you’re not burning calories through exercise. The lack of smooth blood flow gives way to diseases. The risk of unbearable back pain. And hours of no physical activity also means less energy, a worse mood or depression, and problems with insomnia.
The point is, sitting too often is awful for your health.
And as the title of this post suggests, some say that sitting is going to kill you prematurely.
Will sitting kill you? Let’s find out.
Studies On Sitting And Early Death
One study from the Annals of Internal Medicine associated sitting with increased chances of getting a lethal disease, regardless of exercise.
These diseases could be anything from type 2 diabetes, depression, cancer, or cardiovascular issues. Bad news! (That study was then updated with a correction.)
As the world hopped on the war against sitting, a study from Richard M. Pulsford found that sitting didn’t have an effect on mortality risk of their participants. Controlling for factors including gender, ethnicity, and socioeconomic status, the researchers didn’t find a connection for early death.
In other studies, they found that the lack of physical activity is the true cause of early death, not specifically sitting too much. The same problems could come from standing in place. A stationary posture is the problem.
So it’s currently inconclusive if sitting will kill you, but what’s clear is that sitting too often during the day without any activity will damage your health and could lead to undesirable diseases. So let’s strike up a plan to sit less and get more physical activity.
How To Sit Less And Be Active More
Obviously exercising on the elliptical for an hour or running five miles around your place is one way to sit less. But there are easier hacks to sit less during the day and move more if you don’t have time to hit the gym.
Implement these habits during the day and you can make a big difference in living a healthier lifestyle.
1. Take the stairs over the elevator
The lazy part of you wants the elevator, but the wise voice says take the stairs. Do this and you’re guaranteed a good amount of steps taking the stairs in the morning, down and up for lunch, and leaving the office in the evening.
If you work at a desk job, taking the stairs is even more important to offset hours of immobility.
When I wasn’t an entrepreneur, I used to do this ever since my summer internship boss would always take the stairs instead of the elevator.
Besides the health benefits, walking up the stairs will get your heart rate moving and blood flowing better than coffee. Your productivity will benefit significantly.
2. Pace during phone calls
When you’re on the phone at work or at your place, stand up and start pacing during the call. Doing this will make your body move to get those extra steps in—they all add up.
This movement will also give you more energy during the call that will come out through your voice. Standing exudes confidence in your tone, and the person on the other line will be pleased.
And you’ll be a better communicator when standing up. Because studies show that people who stand up think better than sitting down. It’s true, you actually think quicker on your feet.
This tactic works for everywhere except the car.
3. Go with a standing desk
Studies go back and forth on if standing at work offers benefits to you, but I’m a believer that it helps because it’s easier to move around and stretch out when standing.
If you get creative, like I did by putting my laptop on the top of my dresser so I can move my legs when writing, you don’t need to invest the money in a standing desk.
Just remember that using a standing desk doesn’t solve all your problems. Because sedentary standing or slouching is also bad for your body and spine. So make sure to shake those legs and bounce around a bit when you’re working.
Over time, working standing up will feel as normal as sitting down.
4. Walk around during work breaks
There’s no doubt that if you want to maximize your productivity during the day, it’s best to take breaks. The brain and its willpower during the day is like a muscle. It’s exhausted and unable to perform if overexerted.
You can kill two birds with one stone by walking during your breaks. Maybe you walk through the office to go to the bathroom, go outside to walk around the building a few times, or take your dog for a walk.
But taking a break and walking during it is easy to forget. I’d recommend you set a reminder or alarm on your phone to guarantee you do it during the day.
5. Don’t eat lunch at your desk
Since lunch is in the middle of your day, it’s the perfect time to get some exercise walking so you avoid that afternoon energy slump.
The people who have to sit in a chair all morning and afternoon do nothing for their health when they choose to sit at their desk during lunch.
For those who pack their lunch to save money, I’m all for it. But that doesn’t mean you can’t walk to eat somewhere outside or take the stairs to eat in the office cafeteria. Breaking the habit of eating at your desk helps you meet new people.
6. Meet coworkers in person
When you’re about to send an email to your coworker Shannon, don’t hit send. Walk over to her and talk it out right there.
Odds are the communication will be friendlier, you might make a new friend, and you’ll get your answer quicker instead of adding to the pile of Shannon’s unread emails.
Implement this as your regular routine, and you’ll be seen as the friendly, energetic employee that everyone likes.
And don’t forget about all those steps that come from this move.
7. Mix an activity with television or Netflix
I’m so busy that I’m not one to sit for hours watching television or Netflix. But some people do watch shows for hours.
To move more and offset the laziness, mix an activity with your favorite show. Standing up doing laundry, cleaning, or organizing are activities that come to mind off the top of my head.
Another option is to ignore the busy activities and get down to exercise during the show or its breaks. Walk around your place after every episode. Do push ups during commercials. Do something to make your body work.
8. Track your fitness
Tracking your fitness gives you awareness if you’ve been active or dormant during the day. And you gain goals to improve on each week. Seeing your results will cause you to desire to walk more and sit less.
If you don’t have the money, there are plenty of free apps for your smartphone that will track your steps, calories burned, and heart rate.
If you have an iPhone, there’s a predownloaded app called Health (red heart with a white background). It only tracks you when the phone is on you though, which isn’t as convenient.
While sitting all day is terrible for your weight and posture, the evidence is inconclusive at this point that sitting is going to kill you. There’s not enough research and data to be sure.
However, what is for sure is that the staples of a healthy and long life always come down to the basics:
- Eat healthy to fill your body with natural nutrients
- Exercise consistently, whether that be cardio or lifting weights
- Get enough sleep each night—around eight hours
Take care of yourself in these three ways, what I consider the Big 3 of staying healthy, and you’ll give your body the resources it needs to sustain you. A more energized and happier you comes out when you eat, exercise, and sleep right.
And sitting less to be more active during the day only helps your health, so prioritize mobility at least a few minutes every hour and you’ll be fine.
How often do you sit during the day? Now that you know why sitting is bad for you, what changes will you make to be more active?
30 Day Plank Challenge: Plank For 5 Minutes On Last Day
Imagine how pumped up you’re going to be after you complete the 30 Day Plank Challenge? You’ll feel like a rockstar, with abs to prove your hard work.
What I appreciate about the plank is that it’s totally a matter of willpower when it comes to who is willing to get on the ground and do it and who is not.
You don’t need to be tall, fast, strong, or have any physical quality to do this activity. It just comes down to are you a hard worker or not?
This choice alone separates successful people from others in this physical arena and all areas of life, honestly—which I love.
It’s also always wise to test yourself every once in awhile. Since the last personal challenge on Take Your Success happened eight months ago (the gratitude challenge), there’s no more time for slacking.
So for this edition we’re going to be tackling the plank exercise for an entire month straight.
Before we get into the specifics of this challenge, you first need to know the many benefits of planking.
Health Benefits Of The Plank Exercise
I doubt you’re informed about all of the various ways your body thrives when you plank on a consistent basis.
Let’s change that and boost your motivation by learning the pros of staying in the plank position.
Strengthen your core – Planks are arguably the safest and best exercise to strengthen your body’s core since it activates all muscles in this area. Do this exercise enough and you’ll build strong inner core muscles that will pay off for daily function and a sexy appearance.
Flatten your abs – Not everyone wants a glorious six pack, but we could all use a more tightened stomach and abs for when we take our shirt off. Of course diet is more than half the battle for a smooth stomach, but don’t discredit the power of planking to flatten your abs and bring you more confidence about your physical appearance.
Better your posture – By planking, you improve the alignment of your spine, joints, and bones. This helps your body move more efficiently and healthy during every day activities. And better posture improves the first impression you give to others, your body’s energy, and, heck, sitting straighter at a work meeting could be the signal of confidence that persuades your boss to give you a raise.
Reduce back pain – We just covered how better posture improves how you present yourselves to others and feel every day. Though a straightened spine also means less back pain. This study finds that almost 80% of Americans will have back pain sooner or later. That’s a warning sign that we all should plank more often to reduce this nagging affliction.
Become more athletic – With a more stabilized core, your body’s coordination increases allowing your athleticism to improve. You don’t have to be an athlete to appreciate some extra athleticism whether it’s needed at the gym, a sports league with your friends, or some random work event that uses your core muscles.
Speed up your metabolism – Want to lose weight and burn more calories? The plank also delivers in this area, and does much better than crunches or regular ab exercises. The best part of this movement is that it forces your body to continue to burn calories long after you’re done with it, so you get to enjoy a sped up metabolic rate the rest of the day—even when you’re sleeping.
Decrease odds of injury – Doing the plank is wonderful from an injury-prevention perspective because it strengthens your body’s core while not putting too much pressure on your hips, spine, and back muscles. Plus a stronger core means your body has a bigger shield, in a sense, to prevent bodily injuries.
Improve your mood – When you exercise your core with a long and hard plank routine, you release stress from the nervous system to improve your overall mood. That’s why planking can ease your mental worries and lighten your depression since it gives your body an outlet for feeling mentally and physically weighed down.
How can you say you don’t love the plank exercise now? Make this exercise a part of your daily routine and all of those benefits come to you.
To help you follow through, follow an official daily schedule for one entire month.
30 Day Plank Challenge Rules
The goal of the regimented schedule below is to both build up the strength of your core and hold you accountable.
Stick with this schedule without missing a day and you’re going to be shocked at what you can physically accomplish in just one month.
Here’s the daily schedule to complete the 30 Day Plank Challenge:
- Day 1: 20 seconds
- Day 2: 20 seconds
- Day 3: 30 seconds
- Day 4: 30 seconds
- Day 5: 40 seconds
- Day 6: Rest
- Day 7: 45 seconds
- Day 8: 45 seconds
- Day 9: 1 minute
- Day 10: 1 minute
- Day 11: 1 minute
- Day 12: 1 ½ minutes
- Day 13: Rest
- Day 14: 1 ½ minutes
- Day 15: 1 ½ minutes
- Day 16: 2 minutes
- Day 17: 2 minutes
- Day 18: 2 ½ minutes
- Day 19: Rest
- Day 20: 2 ½ minutes
- Day 21: 2 ½ minutes
- Day 22: 3 minutes
- Day 23: 3 minutes
- Day 24: 3 ½ minutes
- Day 25: 3 ½ minutes
- Day 26: Rest
- Day 27: 4 minutes
- Day 28: 4 minutes
- Day 29: 4 ½ minutes
- Day 30: 5 minutes
Don’t be frightened by the thought of planking for 5 minutes on day 30. By that point you’ll have significantly strengthened your core and trained your mind to stick in there when things get tough.
The hardest part will be to actually get started and then maintain proper form while planking. The latter is what I’m going to cover next.
What’s Proper Planking Form?
You’ll defeat the purpose of this challenge and lose out on the physical benefits of planking if your form is terrible.
Keep it right and tight to maximize the core gains that are sure to come after you do the following routine, step-by-step for the next month.
This is proper plank form:
- Get into push-up position.
- Bend your elbows 90 degrees and rest your body weight on your forearms.
- Keep your upper body and lower body on a flat straight line.
- Look at the floor and relax your head.
- Hold this stance for as long as you can while maintaining proper form.
- Don’t stop breathing, inhale and exhale at a slow normal rate.
See what I mean that anyone can do it?
It’s a simple exercise when you consider the fact you need no gym equipment, no weights, no workout partner, and no specific environment to start planking and strengthening your core.
Exercises like this don’t discriminate from the poor who can’t afford fancy gyms, so no one has an excuse for why they can’t plank to get better.
Take It 1 Day At A Time
Like any great individual journey, you’ll perform best if you stay laser focused to take this challenge one day at a time.
It does you no good to worry about how you’re going to plank as long as you need to reach next week’s time when today is the only mission that matters. Stick to today, worry about tomorrow when tomorrow comes.
If it helps, know that I’m going to be busting my tail to complete this 30 Day Plank Challenge as well.
We’re in this together. You got this, I got this, and we got this!
How To Plank: Why This Is My Favorite Exercise!
Whether your motive is looking better with your shirt off, feeling more in shape, or strengthening your body, you’ll want to know how to plank.
It might change, but right now this is my favorite exercise on the planet.
Watch this short video to get a quick explanation of the plank and how to do it to perfection:
In case you didn’t watch the clip or catch the steps to do a perfect plank, here they are:
- Get into push-up position
- Bend your elbows 90 degrees and rest your body weight on your forearms
- Keep your upper body and lower body on a flat straight line
- Look at the floor and relax your head
- Hold this stance for as long as you can while maintaining proper form
- Don’t stop breathing, inhale and exhale at a slow normal rate
That’s all it takes to build your core and get stronger muscles. Isn’t the plank simple?
Plus you can plank daily to challenge your abs, where it’s not smart to do chest, biceps, or leg exercises daily. This is another W for the plank!
How often do you plank?
What’s your experience with it?
For how long can you plank without putting your butt in the air and arching your back?
Challenge yourself to start doing this weekly (it doesn’t have to be daily). Note how long you last, with good form, the first time you plank. Then take baby steps to feel the burn and go longer next time. And repeat this process.
Imagine how much progress you can make in 6, 12, and 18 months?
It’s for this reason that you better believe I’m planking tonight. Join me!
111 Reasons To Exercise
Not in a regular workout routine? Maybe the problem is you don’t realize the importance of physical activity. I’ll fix that with these 111 reasons to exercise.
You may not like reading this list because then you don’t have the excuse of ignorance. Sorry to bury your excuses.
After reading this it’ll just be pure laziness if you’re not exercising and pushing your body to get in shape. That’s 100% on you.
But I got faith in you. You can build this habit—slowly but surely—and become a more fit version of yourself.
Take it day by day. That’s the key. Don’t expect to lose 10 pounds in a week, then get frustrated you’re not seeing immediate progress. All good things take time.
Alright, let’s dive into every single reason to work out!
The Benefits Of Exercise
- Betters your quality of life
- Gives you more energy throughout the day
- Helps you fall asleep quicker at night
- Works to prevent the common cold
- Boosts productivity all day
- Improves your blood flow
- Provides endorphins to feel good
- Fights against depression
- Improves your social confidence
- Extends the amount of years you live
- Stimulates mental focus and concentration
- Lowers your body fat and weight
- Strengthens your immune system
- Presents opportunities to make new friends
- Increases testosterone
- Lessens risk of joint pain
- Tones and strengthens your skin
- Enhances your endurance
- Protects you against heart disease
- Lowers risk of some cancers
- Convinces you you’re stronger than you think
- Fights against dementia
- Motivates you to eat healthier
- Burns extra calories
- Provides a creative outlet
- Helps you feel sexier
- Drives more romance in your relationship
- Lowers cholesterol in a natural way
- Makes your dog healthier and happier with more walks
- Decreases your resting heart rate
- Instills discipline and self-control
- Teaches your kids to exercise
- Increases your work performance
- Adds a challenge to your day
- Strengthens your bones
- Develops your athletic ability
- Pushes you to take more risks
- Digests your food better
- Lowers risk of diabetes
- Lowers triglycerides
- Aids your immune system fighting infections
- Improves emotional stability
- Gives you a positive goal to attach your energy to
- Alleviates constipation
- Stimulates pain-releasing hormones
- Improves oxygen movement to the body
- Lowers the risk of osteoporosis
- Speeds up your metabolism
- Helps remove lactic acid in the body
- Develops a mindset of self improvement
- Straightens up your posture
- Provides a healthy habit to exercise more
- Develops flexibility and range of motion
- Makes it easier to fit into different types of clothes
- Gives you a social setting to meet like-minded people
- Helps you think positive
- Saves you doctor bills down the road
- Increases creativity
- Allows you to eat unhealthy without getting fat
- Makes you drink more water
- Protects your eyes and eyesight
- Creates a mentality of respecting your body
- Builds muscle tone
- Provides opportunities to test your willpower
- Fights against allergies
- Makes you look younger than you are
- Prepares you for change
- Increases fertility for making babies
- Improves body control
- Allows your brain to think more clearly
- Helps your body store glycogen
- Boosts your body’s production of good fat
- Gets you comfortable handling pressure
- Decreases appetite for sugary drinks and unhealthy food
- Adds muscle strength
- Makes you feel hungrier after a good workout
- Takes away guilt when you do relax
- Increases the odds you make more money
- Reduces blood pressure
- Teaches you a lesson in patience to see body progress
- Alleviates back pain
- Readies you for any reunion, wedding, or social gathering
- Improves breathing ability
- Gives you a chance at a six pack
- Instills belief that you can achieve your goals and follow through
- Eases menstrual cramps
- Gets you ready to run a marathon
- Improves your business network and connections
- Provides an excuse to wear and buy new exercise clothes
- Improves reaction time
- Presents opportunities to find new business ideas
- Makes for a free social activity
- Reduces stress and anxiety
- Fights against feelings of boredom
- Protects against age-related muscle loss
- Gives you a pretty mirror view
- Raises your sexual performance
- Allows you to eat more food
- Makes you a more interesting person
- Prepares you to always look good in swimsuits
- Builds muscle size
- Adds a glow to your skin complexion
- Teaches you the value of hard work
- Gives you a reason to manage your time better
- Protects your body against injury
- Decreases the difficulty of lifting heavy objects
- Encourages the people around you to exercise
- Adds to your first impression
- Lowers the scary thought of stepping on a scale
- Increases compliments you receive from other people
- Gives your body what it loves, a good workout
If those 111 arguments didn’t convince you to take your health serious and begin a consistent exercise plan, I give up. You may be hopeless.
Just kidding. I know that’s not true. Even the most overweight, out-of-shape person can make a turn for the better to prioritize exercise.
And I know after reading this some of you will think, “Exercise is awesome. I’m going to get shredded for the beach this summer.” But then you’ll continue to not work out like nothing changed.
There’s only one road to getting in better shape, and it requires a bunch of sweat.
So snap out of it. Start exercising like you know you should. Get committed.
You owe it to your mind and body at the very least. Otherwise you’ll steal those 111 reasons from yourself.
And as I wrote in this article, the best time to start is now.