If you’re like most people, you spend 80% of your time SITTING.
Did you know that doing so it’s wreaking havoc on your body? Humans aren’t built to sit for long periods like we do these days – we’re designed to be standing and moving.
As a result, it causes rounded shoulders and forward head posture (we call this Neanderthal posture here at NF!), and can also affect your breathing (because it compressed your diaphragm) which, in turn, can aggravate stress and even anxiety.
So. What’s an office worker (or driver, or other kind of all-day-sitter) to do? We’ve got three easy tips to help you combat ‘Neanderthal posture’ and feel better…
The Body Mass Index - or BMI - is an algorithm of weight and height that was created by insurance companies many decades ago to help determine a person's risk for disease or mortality.
Fast forward to the present day and it's commonly used as a measure of health - but it shouldn't be. From a fitness perspective, this simply doesn't make sense because it doesn't factor in muscle mass or bone density. A person who is lean and muscular but has big bones could have a very high BMI. And on the flip side, someone with a healthy BMI can be 'skinny fat' and unhealthy. (Here's a detailed article about its shortcomings, if you're interested in more detail.)
So if the BMI isn't reliable, what IS a good measure?
By now you've likely read about the UK ad by sports nutrition store Protein World. It features a heavily-airbrushed model in a bikini with the question in large bold font: ARE YOU BEACH BODY READY?
Last week I posted about the ‘skinny-fat’ phenomenon. And it sparked a lot of interest in our readers, including one who pointed out on our Facebook page that, while skinny doesn’t always = healthy, overweight doesn’t always = unhealthy.
And she is right: it is entirely possible to be overweight, yet healthy ‘under the hood’ so-to-speak.
While it may be true that some – or it might even be fair to say most – overweight people have unhealthy habits, there are some who are strong, cardiovascularly fit, and otherwise quite healthy.
But I will say that it’s rare for someone to be doing all the right things in terms of diet and exercise and still be overweight – there is almost always an underlying reason for the extra weight.
The other day one of our personal training clients, who is in great shape, told me that one of her friends remarked to her, “Why on Earth do you work out? You’re skinny!” This comment is an example of a great misconception in our society: that skinny = healthy.
This client can deadlift and squat more than her own body weight, and has a healthy percentage of body fat and lean tissue (muscle). She is lean, but also strong and healthy. Some so-called skinny people, on the other hand, are none of the above.
Poul Nielsen is the owner and operator of Nielsen Fitness, Toronto's leading team of in-home personal trainers. He has 16 years' experience in the fitness industry and has taught courses in Fitness and Lifestyle Management at George Brown College.
In addition to exercise (obviously), he loves spending time with his family, playing the guitar, strong coffee - and dark chocolate!