Your job or your school is killing your fitness.


Source – Study: Each hour of sitting erases 8% from the health benefit of an hour of running. 

Runners have always known that more is better (within reason). If you run a few more miles per week, you get fitter and faster. The same increases in fitness have been linked to decreased risk of major life diseases such as heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, and the like.

More recently, we’ve learned that less is better too–less sitting. That’s because lots of sitting increases the risk of the just-mentioned diseases. Runner’s World Newswire reported on this phenomenon as recently as two weeks ago.

just-published study in Mayo Clinic Proceedings provides runners with a new tool to evaluate the benefits/risks of running/sitting. It explains how to “subtract” the negative effects of sitting time from the positive benefits of running time. 

Warning: The whole process is a little depressing, because we’ve never before had such a tool. You never had to subtract anything from your runs. (Full Story)

You know that 1 hour run you just went on? If you followed that up with 8 hours at your desk job and 2 hours watching TV, reading, or web surfing on the couch, then that really was only a 12 minute run.  At least that’s what the Mayo clinic found in a recent study.  Now I’m not an alarmist. As somebody who reads scientific journals and keeps up with findings in various fields, I fully realize that this is a single study and now we’ll find out if the results are replicable by other scientists. Still, this certainly strikes a chord with me.

They found that on average, sitting/being sedentary cancels out 8% of your gains from the same amount of time spent exercising.  That’s just for “vigorous” exercises (running included). If you do some less intense form exercise, then you’re looking at 16%/time unit cancellation.

Those are numbers that simply can’t be ignored if you care about your fitness.  Luckily there are some easy ways to help yourself out.


1) Get up!

Just get up and walk every hour.  Set a timer to go off every 45 minutes, stand up, and walk around. You can even bring your phone, so you can walk and answer emails that you saved for just this very moment.  You can even have a walking meeting like the picture above depicts in a very diverse way. 😉



2) Use an exercise ball instead of a chair

It may look goofy, but it at least forces you to move around.  An added bonus is having a great office weapon and kickball on hand for when the mood dictates.



3) Use a standing desk

These are becoming all the rage.  Honestly, it just looks exhausting, but I’m sure after a few weeks you get used to it and will have an ass, legs, and a lower back of steel.



4) Third World squat

Does this look familiar to you at all?


T-Nation may now be a bastion for meat heads and recycle training concepts more often than a hippy recycles his water bottles, but they have diamonds in the rough every once in while.  This article on the 3rd World squat is one of them. If you travel to developing countries, you’ll see people loitering about and instead of sitting, they’ll be squatting.  It’s comfortable to stay in for hours.  How often can you stay in it?  Maybe try this while watching TV and reading instead of lounging on your coach.  Your knee health, your hip mobility, and your squat max may thank you.

2 Comments on “Your job or your school is killing your fitness.

  1. Congrats on the new website, Paul!

    I’m able to 3rd world squat… it is pretty comfortable. However, a lot of people I’ve talked to about it (don’t ask me how the conversation gets brought up) can’t squat that low with their heels on the ground.

    Plus, if somebody catches you sitting like that at your desk, they’re going to think you need to use the bathroom!!

    As an IT consultant, I’ve actually had the opportunity to use a client’s standing desk… it was pretty exhausting… more quickly than you’d think. But, as you pointed out, I’m sure you would get used to it. The question, though, is how productive can you manage to be in the meantime?

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