Are you sitting down? I have some news for you. Stand up!
A recent study of older women (average age of 79) published in the American Journal of Epidemiology found that people who are sedentary have shorter life spans and are more likely to have high blood pressure, a history of chronic disease, lower physical performance scores, and are more likely to have experienced a fall in the past 12 months. The researchers found that the most sedentary women were biologically 8 years older than their actual age.
Another study in the same journal studied dementia risk in sedentary people. They studied people who were carriers of dementia markers and those who were not. The subjects with the markers for dementia developed dementia more often, but being sedentary greatly increased the risk of getting dementia for those who did not have the markers.
On a non-scientific note, I was talking to a physical therapist about the types of patients he sees. He said that 90% of what he sees is posture related ailments, the majority of them from sitting.
This is scary stuff! But it also means we can take control of our health by addressing the problem.
The first step is obvious- avoid sitting all day long! If you have a desk job this can be a challenge, but make it a priority to get up and stretch, walk around, etc… at least once an hour but the more often the better.
The second option is to address your desk area. There are stand up desks, adjustable desks that go from standing to sitting, sitting on and exercise ball, practicing good office ergonomics, etc…
The third thing to do is to address your posture. This might mean being more aware of your body position or doing more stretches and foam rolling to problem areas.
The fourth thing to look at is your leisure time activities. If you are sitting all day at work, then coming home and sitting on the couch or in front of a computer the remainder of the day that will catch up to you one day.
If you need more in depth instruction on some of these things or you would like someone to come speak at your office and address these topics, I highly recommend Dr. Nancy Harden from Flexibility For Life. I call her the Muscle Whisperer, she does pretty amazing work.
It is very easy to get caught up in the day to day grind of your life. Going to work, errands, social commitments, TV, etc... all take up time, energy, and focus. This leaves you with very little left in the tank to do something very important.
It is absolutely crucial to think about your future.
Will your future self thank you in 20 years for what you are doing now? That steady diet of fast food will probably get a now, while putting all that money into a 401k would get a yes.
Thinking long term also helps you avoid getting caught up in short term fad diets and fad workouts. Are you really going to NEVER have a piece of bread again? Is that crazy workout where you keep hurting yourself going to be part of your routine in 20 years?
This hits home for me because I keep getting hurt doing jiujitsu. Some little stuff like broken toes, up to bigger stuff like tearing a ligament in my knee a month ago. Well someone tore it for me, but I was there when it happened 🙂
My choice now is to quit or change the way I train at jiujitsu. The way I have been doing it is very physical, never wanting to tap out, and win at all costs mentality. Don’t think 60 year old me will be able to do that. I am choosing to train smarter, not harder.
The same thing applies to the way I treat my body overall. Performing more mobility/stretching, getting more sleep, cutting down on caffeine. These are all things I am doing now that will pay off in later years.
A big goal for me is to be that spry old man that can run circles around the whippersnappers in the neighborhood. I want to be strong, fit, and pain free for as long as I possible can.
Look at the choices you are making as bank transactions. Are you making more deposits or withdrawals in your long term health account?
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This week your challenge involves most people's most offensive four letter word. Work.
Studies have shown that only 19% of people are satisfied with your jobs. So chances are that you fit into the group that is not happy with their job.
Think about where you spend the majority of your time. It has been estimated that you will spend 91,250 hours (40 hours per week starting at age 21, retiring at 65) at work!
If you aren't happy or at the very least mildly satisfied at work, it would not be a big shock to learn you are an unhappy person.
Here's your challenge this week:
Think of three things you like about your job.
By the way, if you are a stay at home mom you better believe that counts as a job.
It can be as small as this guy I worked with one time who was a combat veteran and he would say, "Well, this isn't the greatest job in the world, but at least people are not shooting at me at work."
Or it can be as big as "I feel like I am making a difference every day I go to work".
If you can't find 3 things about your job that you like, I would suggest finding another one.
How much is being miserable worth to you?
I understand paying bills and making ends meet, but in the end your job stress will eventually cost you much more in terms of health, relationships, happiness, etc...
The question will always be, is it worth it? For some people it might be. For me, I would rather be the healthy, happy guy living in the trailer park than the unhealthy sourpuss living in a gated community. And I've actually been a healthy, happy guy living in a trailer park and it was awesome.
If you aren't one of those people, then you need to find an outlet for your job stress or find a new job.
One of my awesome clients Lesley gave me a really interesting article to read the other day from The Costco Connection. Yep, I didn’t know Costco had a magazine either.
The article was titled “Dieting versus healthy habits” by Dr. Sandra Aamodt. The main idea was questioning why doctors always recommend dieting for their patients when it has not been proven to improve health in the long term.
The most telling quote in the article is where Dr. Aamodt says, “For health, the most important habit is daily exercise. No matter how much people weigh, physical activity predicts better health. People who rarely get off the couch are more than twice as likely to die prematurely as people who exercise moderately, whether they are normal weight, overweight or obese.”
Two stats that stood out to me are: low fitness is responsible for 16-17% of deaths in the US. Obesity is responsible for 2-3% once fitness is factored out.
That’s not to say you should not watch what you eat. Healthy eating will make you look, feel, and perform better so it is always a good idea!
The main point is to choose a lifestyle change over a diet. It is a clue that diet has die right in the name!
Become more active more often. Ditch processed foods, practice portion control, and cook/prepare more whole foods rather than going on a diet.
One of the keys to life is surrounding yourself with people who make you better. One of the people in my life who makes me better is Dr. Patty Long.
Dr. Patty is one of those people who is so passionate about helping others that it makes me pick my game up. We were talking last week and she made an excellent point that I had not really thought about.
There is no cold and flu season.
Did that stop you in your tracks a little bit? It did to me too the first time I heard it, but then she explained what she meant.
The reason people get the cold and flu around this time of year is more based on habits, rather than a wave of magical disease floating in at the same time every year. This is the time of year when we invite disease in.
Less sleep, more stress, nutrition habits go out the window, exercise routines are put off, we are around large groups of people shaking hands, sick people come to work because they are saving their leave days for Christmas. If you were looking to get sick this would be a great way to go about it.
I want to encourage you to cold and flu proof yourself. Have fun during the holidays, but put your health first. Stay well rested, don’t sweat the small stuff, keep eating right and exercising, wash your hands, and quarantine that guy that comes to work sick every year!
And if you want much more in depth information and tips on how to truly improve your health, I want to invite you to Dr. Patty’s True Cellular Detox Seminar she is offering on Saturday December 10th at her office. It is absolutely free and will be especially helpful if you know something is wrong with your body, but traditional medicine has provided you with zero answers.
I had just finished teaching my 830am boot camp, picked up a few groceries, and was getting ready to take nap. Then the phone rang, so I grudgingly got up and answered it.
It was a robo-call from the school that I was only halfway listening to, until it said my son’s name. The message said he was absent from school that day.
My heart almost stopped because it was 10am and my son rides his bike to school every day. He had left the house at 720 that morning. All the doomsday scenarios were running through my head as I hurriedly called the school.
The secretary picked up and confirmed that he was marked as missing from school, but she would send a student aide to his classroom to double check. That was the longest 5 minutes of my life. All I could think of was we should have set up way to know if he gets to school every day and now it was too late.
The secretary gets back on the line and tells me it was a mistake and that the wrong child got marked absent. Such. A. Relief.
I felt like we were given a second chance and now we have a way to know immediately when he is not at school on time. We were able to take action to prevent something bad from happening.
Have you been through something similar with your health? Have you been told by a doctor you need to be more active or ________ will happen? Are you starting to see your strength, mobility, and vitality decline? Do you just feel like crap all the time?
It is not too late to fix that! Heed the warning signs and take action.
So where do you start? Start with this quote:
What is something you do (or don’t do) every day that needs to change? Start there, improve your daily routine, and you will improve your future no matter what condition you are in now.
Something I preach about constantly is the importance of a lifestyle change, rather than just the “I need to lose X amount of pounds” goal. When all you are focused on is that number on the scale, you let a lot of things fall by the wayside.
Not every pound is created equally. You want to carry as much lean muscle mass on your body as possible. That way you will burn more calories at rest and your goals will be easier to reach.
If you are doing strength training as part of your workout (and you should be), you could add a pound of muscle and lose a pound of fat. On the scale it looks like nothing! But in reality, you are doing awesome.
When you are only focused on weight loss, it makes you more susceptible to fad diets. Here is a hint- if a diet tells you to completely give up proteins, fats, or carbs stay away. Your body needs all 3 of those macronutrients to function properly.
You can fall into the trap of starving yourself to get the weight down. You don’t have to starve to get results! You can eat meals that nourish your body, made up of foods you actually like, and you don’t have to be hungry all the time.
The key is to make your meals more nutrient dense. This will provide you with the energy you need without making you take in more calories than you need.
Focus on the making fitness and health a way of life. Move more (especially outside of your workouts), eat healthier, take care of your muscles, get plenty of rest, and enjoy yourself! Life is too short to walk around feeling unhappy and unwell all the time.
PS- if you want to take the guess work out of what to eat, when to eat, and how much to eat I have spots left for my new Weight Management System. You can go to this link below to learn more and to reserve your spot.
About 6 weeks ago I decided to quit drinking coffee. I love coffee and I get up at 4am, so this was not a decision I came to lightly. I was not having any negative health problems or anything like that, it was more of a mental thing.
I felt like the coffee drinking was getting out of control. It was the first thing I did every morning, every day. It got to where I would have a cup at 4am, then 7am, and then started having on in the afternoons as well.
It was beginning to feel like too much of a crutch, so I gave it up. There were some headaches and cravings, but overall it was not as bad as I thought it would be. Along the way I was checking to see if there were any health improvements. I did notice a slight increase in energy, but nothing major.
Fast forward to now and I am back drinking coffee, but on a slightly different level. It is not an every day, several times a day habit now. Coffee is something I appreciate much more, but have less.
My whole reason for sharing this with you is so you can take an inventory of your nutrition habits. Is there something that has gotten out of control? Do you feel like you can’t go a day without it? If so, whatever that is might be a candidate for quitting.
Maybe it is a daily Mountain Dew, Little Debbie, or pack of Skittles at 2pm. Give yourself permission to give it up. This is not forever, and you get to determine how long you will give it up for (1 day, 1 week, 1 month). The end goal is for you to take control of your habits, instead of them controlling you
It was my wife’s birthday last week, so I wanted to do something special for her. She is a HUGE Dave Ramsey fan, so I took her to see his live radio show in Nashville.
I have a read a few of Dave Ramsey’s books and listened to his radio show a few times, but I am not nearly the fan my wife is. That being said, I was very impressed with how he runs things.
At Ramsey Solutions, they have a system for everything they do. Rather than leaving things up to chance, there is a certain way everything gets done. From how tours are done, to how people do the debt free scream , to when Dave visits with the audience on his breaks, and everything in between.
This way they can get repeatable and reliable results without relying on will power. We have a limited supply of will power, so the less you have to use the more successful you are.
There are a lot of places you can start, but here are 3 systems to help you get started.
Set a firm workout time. Write it down, put it in your phone, or whatever you need to do but set a firm time. That way there is no negotiating, that is your workout time and that is that.
Prep ahead of time
Get your workout clothes ready, prepare meals ahead of time, have your water bottle filled up. These are all things that will help you DO the healthier things you want to do, rather than THINK about doing them.
Have a backup plan
Part of having systems is being ready when things don’t go exactly to plan. What will you do if the car breaks down, your child is sick, or you have to travel for work. Have workouts you can do at home and on the road ready to go.