In 2010 the American Society of Cancer Research Society published the following figures in the American Journal of Epidemiology: from 1993 to 2006, the health of 123,216 people, 69,776 of whom were women, was documented.
The results were alarming.
For women who undertook no sporting activity, and stayed seated for six hours a day, the likelihood of their dying within that period was 94% higher than for those who were physically active and spent fewer than three hours a day sitting down. For men, the probability over the same period was 48%.
In January 2010, the British Journal of Sports Medicine published an article which also concluded that, even if we are physically active and still spend too much time sitting down, there is a much higher probability of succumbing to a chronic illness. This statement underlines the general findings of research into this subject which seem quite logical: that regular exercise – irrespective of the intensity – cannot compensate for too long spent sitting down.
In 2010, the University of Queensland in Australia also published their findings:
Even when people follow the guidelines for physical activity, remaining seated for long periods of time can lead to metabolic disorders.
So we sit too much. Sitting makes us sick and in our part of the world, prolonged sedentary periods are among the most frequent cause of death. Whatever we do, we must make sure we get up and move more.
Whether we choose to do endurance training, strength training, cardio, high intensity workouts, Tabata, circuit training, boot camp, power yoga, Pilates or Zumba, the variety of programmes is almost as endless as the number of diets on offer these days. And, as is the case with food choices, science is just as ineffective at helping us choose between the dizzying array of exercise options.
I got to know Irene in 2017 in Kailua-Kona, Hawaii. She had just decided to become a professional triathlete. Her life until then has been narrow and grey. She was so unhappy with her job, her self-esteem had been low for almost all her life - she is 36 now. The were only a few moments of happiness at the University of Environmental Sciences in Padua where she felt greatly respected by her professor.
Eating disorders and a broken relationship did not make her life easier.
Irene broke through the wall of unhappiness when she discovered triathlon for herself. This sport changed her life and gives her the kind of balance and self-confidence she needed to be finally content with herself. She travels the world for the first time in her life. She changed by making huge steps, no baby steps. Not everybody is able to do so, but baby steps are possible for everybody.
Indigenous boys are enjoying their Friday holiday on the rocks of Wadi Helo. I observed them on my hike through this beautiful valley in Fujairah, the smallest Emirate of the UAE. It seems the less alienated we are from nature the better our body perception and our ability to move our bodies with grace, the essence embarrassed we are to dance and behave a little bit crazy.
Arabic men love to dance and they know perfectly well how to move their hips and pelvis, which gives them a very erotic radiance!
Every evening at around 5:00pm the ladies meet for their exercises. They have a very proud and self-confident teacher and a loudspeaker with the music that gives them the rhythm for the mixture of dancing and gymnastics, soft and cheerful they move as synchronized as they can.
The place is an open space where cars and mopeds drive through and park, shops are aligned along the roads framing the place, and street food carts sell their delicious take-aways. It is a very busy place in the middle Thalang village, but the ladies don’t care, they just enjoy themselves.
I loved to observe them after my Thai massage and they didn’t mind. It seemed as if they where proud, especially the man, that I was shooting them.
In March I spent a few days on Iceland. During the first half of 2018 I did not feel good at all, the burnout threatened to hold me with tight grip.
Okay, then girl, I told myself, do something. I chose a breathing seminar (Wim Hof Method) near Reykjavik. We had to expose ourselves to the cold without dressing warm using a special breathing technique to stay warm, to calm down and balance the autonomous nervous system. By breathing I learnt we can also activate and increase our brown fatty tissue which helps us to keep ourselves warm. The concept sounded logical to me. I did not hesitate for long and I was gone.
The experience was very special, not exactly my piece of cake as I am more a loner than a tribe girl. And as I am not one of those creature completely alienated from nature, I don’t need guidance to discover nature.
But I kept the routine of taking cold showers in the morning and in the evening before going to bed. It helps, it feels good for me.