I went to a seminar this week about ergonomics and the importance of balancing the amount of time we spend in our day sitting, standing and basically moving. The statistics were quite alarming. Some of this you all may know but here are a few of the ones I wrote down:
- The percentage of people globally who have type 2 diabetes has risen from about 2% to 9% over the past 30 years
- The percentage of people considered clinically obese in the US has risen from 10% to 30% since 1990
- Most Americans sit 13-14 hours a day
- All things being equal one hour sitting in front of the TV instead of being moderately active will shorten your lifespan by 22 minutes; smoking a cigarette will shorten it by 11 minutes
The lecturer, Dr. Alan Hedge, a PhD professor at Cornell University, was also quick in demonstrating that only a small change in our daily routines could go a very long way to getting us all on the right path to a healthy lifestyle. Again, you may know this but it helps to hear it one more time:
- If you do sit at work a lot you should get up every hour for about 2-5 minutes and move around or just simply stand
- You should do some light activity, like take a 15 minute walk after a high calorie meal
- Changing your posture or position 16 times a day – sitting, standing, and moving – will allow your body and mind to remain invigorated.
- A simple reduction of about 50 calories a day (third of a coke) from your present daily intake will create an average loss of 4 pounds a year or 40 pounds over 10 years. (Unfortunately the opposite is also true.)
Now, of course it does take discipline to maintain these healthy habits. But in the end it is discipline that gets us where we want to be…where we need to be. Anyone that has started an exercise and / or diet program gets this. Somehow though, most of us left on our own succumb to our human nature and our human weakness and before we know it we slide back to our bad habits. You know, two steps forward and one step back. There is some very credible evidence however, that when we embark on this type of life changing activity, doing so with one or more like minded people increases the likelihood of our success. The old buddy system still has some merit when we are trying to accomplish the seemingly impossible. The knowledge that you are not alone in your struggles and that you have someone to lean on, confide in or just bitch to has a very positive impact when attempting to just make it through another day, or meal, or 20 minutes on a tread mill. Doing stuff together is easier than doing it on our own.
Isn’t it the same way with our faith? I mean, how easy is it for each of us to get through the day without hearing about some horrific tragedy? It just seems impossible. We have all heard about the light at the end of the tunnel, but instead of getting closer, the light just seems to get farther and farther away. Just when we seem to be making progress like tearing down the Berlin wall, we slide back and 9/11 happens. It’s been that way throughout history. We abolish slavery and then we establish the KKK. We cure childhood diseases, and then we legalize abortion. MLK delivers his ‘I have a dream’ speech and then he’s shot down. Jesus preaches loving our neighbors, and then we torture and crucify Him. It just seems we lack the discipline as a society to stay on track, to keep moving forward, to remain undistracted. And oh boy, are we easily distracted. Whether it be an ice cream cone or a Netflix binge, segregation, or world domination, we can’t keep ourselves from choosing what we want instead of what we need. It all gets back to our earthly predisposition and the sin of satan – self-service – taking care of ourselves first, instead of our brothers and sisters. And when you give it some really good deep thought, it is only through cooperation – working as buddies – that mankind has achieved anything worthwhile. And you know what is most ironic? It is from these spiritual brothers and sisters that we are likely to get the help we all need to realize our greatest achievement – salvation. Yes, it is through Christ that we are offered eternal peace in Paradise, but for me it is only by the good grace of the rest of you out there that I will ever see it. Thanks for keeping me less distracted then I would otherwise be.