Should you Ditch the Chair? A case for “active rest”

Most wellness and fitness experts agree that our human meat sack bodies are not really suited for all the sitting we do in our modern, convenience-laden lifestyles. There are a ton of studies that have linked the steep increase in sedentary time to the steep increase in the risk of cardiovascular disease. But evolutionarily speaking, how does this really stack up? Are we really that much more sedentary than we were a few hundred or thousands of years ago? Let’s look at what the science says.

The research paper: Sitting, squatting, and the evolutionary biology of human inactivity published in the proceedings of the national academy of science concludes with this: “Based on our results, we introduce the Inactivity Mismatch Hypothesis and propose that human physiology is likely adapted to more consistently active muscles derived from both physical activity and from nonambulatory postures with higher levels of muscle contraction.”

This translates to something like…

Hunter-gatherers have high levels of inactive time — around 10 hours per day, which is surprisingly similar to the inactive time in industrialized populations like here in Canada where I am and likely near you, wherever you are listening to this podcast right now. 

What?!? I know right? So what the hell is going on?. 

The researchers went on to say” However – and this is a big however –  in Hadza adults, inactive time often occurred in a squatting position, which increased levels of muscle recruitment and could be considered “active rest”, in contrast to sitting in a lumbar supported car, then transferring to an expensive office chair, only to conclude the day on a pillowy couch. 

In this episode, I get into some practical antidotes to this issue. 

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