You already know that the cardiovascular system delivers oxygen and nutrients to the body but what you may not know is that the heart is not the only muscle that needs to work to do this. Let’s talk a little science for a bit.
HEMODYNAMICS AND EXERCISE
If you could take a picture of all the tiny artieries and veins you’d be amazed at how dense it was. It’s so prolific that it touches almost all 100 trillion cells (yes you have a 100 Trillion cells) in your body. Every cell that needs oxygen and nutrients are within micrometers of these capillaries.
You probably believe that your heart is the only muscle in your body that delivers life to each cell. Well that’s not entirely true.
PAY ATTENTION TO THE NEXT SENTENCE
When your muscles contract the mechanical stimulation causes the smooth-muscle wall of the arteries to relax and open causing a drop in pressure that “PULLS” blood from the arteries to the capillaries and then into each cell.
We are lead to believe that the heart is solely responsible to pump oxygen and nutrients throughout our body and are never told how important the movement of the muscles are in this delivery process.
GO WITHOUT OXYGEN AND YOU GASP FOR AIR
If you go without oxygen for even a little bit you start gasping for air. Imagine what your cells are doing when they can’t get enough oxygen because the muscles are not moving to suck the oxygen rich blood into them to give them life. Essentially when you don’t move, your cells are gasping for air.
This is why sitting is the new smoking. Sitting, i.e. no muscle movement, is causing your heart to have to pump harder and harder to stop the cells from screaming for air and food. If you could put a microphone up to your cells you’d hear them screaming to MOVE, PLEASE MOVE!
WE ARE EXERCISE SITTERS
You probably exercise and receive the benefits from that movement, at least to the extent you properly moved the muscle group. Then after a workout you go to an office and sit. You drive to your next appointment sitting. You sit while you eat. You sit as you are entertained. You are sitting now reading this blog. We are actually sedentary MOST of the time. While you are not moving your cells are screaming for blood. While you are moving, they are happy little cells getting all of mother’s attention.
If I told you that sitting is killing you you’d get up and stand. Well, sitting is killing you. As I type this I’m standing in my new standing office. You need to load those cells and muscles. Not just during exercise, but like most of the day. Katy Bowman, M.S. in her book, MOVE YOUR DNA, Restore your health through natural movement, says, “The circulatory system works all the time, whether your muscles help or not. Taking your muscles out of the equation basically forces your heart to do all the work, all of the day. Then, when you are ready to stand up, you ask your heart — which has had to pick up your muscular slack all day — to engage in an intense activity for the purpose of keeping it strong enough to, again, do all of the work.”
You’re probably thinking, “Yea right! How am I going to do that?” There is an answer.
Look around and you’ll see how our society supports the habit of sitting. The first place to make a change is to believe what I’ve just taught you and begin to be aware. Then start to incorporate movement into your daily routine. I’m convinced that sitting heavily contributed to the arthritis in my knee that caused me to have surgery. It was in my rehab that I began to understand the importance of total and continual body movement.
Here are some things that I had to learn to do:
- Stand as I work on the computer.
- Walk to the store to get groceries and have fun moving in creative ways (yes I get weird stares when I hop up and down on the curb)
- Mini-jog as I move in my home.
- Park far away in the parking lot or even across the street and walk or as I’ve done, dance to my destination.
- In a waiting room I’ll stand (it took me awhile to build up endurance to stand correctly).
- Ride my bike to locations.
- Stand and gaze out the window when I’m on my phone (helps train the eyes too).
- When I do traditional exercise as an Ironman triathlete I incorporate different movements into my routines. As an example, on a bike ride after say 20 miles, I’ll get off my bike and do jumping jacks or even burpies.
- In meetings with prospects I go to locations with high tables and chairs. I’ll stand as they sit. It allows me to bring up this information and really sets me apart.
- I’ve added a picture of me doing rolls, standing, and cartwheels (I’m still learning how to do a cartwheel but my grandchildren love teaching me) to my daily vision board.
Don’t let sitting kill you a slow death! Rebel the norm and start to move!!!!!