Five Simple Ways To Unfuck Your Body
By Joe Vennare
Illustrations by Chris Philpot
Have you ever seen the television show 1000 Ways to Die? In all likelihood you missed it. Lucky you. It was painful to watch. So painful, in fact, that watching an entire episode should be added to the list, making it 1,001 ways to die. Save yourself!
Of course, my mentioning it isn’t (just) to talk shit. The show is intended to serve as a frame of reference. As the title suggests, and as you may have deduced, each episode presents outlandish deaths purported to be true. Whether or not the writing and acting is intentionally bad remains unknown. But one thing is made abundantly clear: There are a lot of ways to wind up dead.
For instance, in one episode, a woman dies while deep-throating a cucumber in preparation for her well-endowed Romeo. Which sounds a lot like something a group of teenagers would come up with while sitting in a tree house. Reading the Penthouse Johnny stole from his dad. Right before he ganked the Pabst Blue Ribbon they’re all drinking.
Teenage boys can come up with some pretty gruesome shit. If you were a fly on the wall during one of these porn- and beer-filled tree-house throw downs you’d hear something like, “Would you rather die from a Lorena Bobbitt–style attack or from electric shock after you put your dick in a toaster oven?”
Come on, man! Who puts their dick in a toaster oven? Kids and their zany imaginations! They can think up, and say, the darndest things. But one thing they’d never say, a common cause of death that most of us overlook, is that simply sitting around too much is going to kill us all.
Born to Run is a book about running. Endurance running, to be exact. But you probably could have guessed that. What you might not know, unless you read the book, is that author Christopher McDougall believes humans developed traits for running because we literally ran down our food. Therefore, running was a necessary part of life—and essential to human evolution.
Nowadays, not so much.
Whereas our ancestors were muscular-looking men and women, our present-day proportions are all out of whack. We’re overweight. Inactive. Sickly even.
And it’s not just adults. American kids are more obese than ever before. So much so that there’s legislation being put forth in some states that would put a three-teen capacity on all porn/drinking tree houses due to concerns about compromising structural integrity
and exceeding the weight limit, causing a collapse. Which would make for 1,002 ways to die.
Okay, that last part isn’t true—yet. But it doesn’t change the fact that Americans are fat and that our collective health is fucked. For serious. And sitting around all goddamn day has a lot to do with it.
Let’s take a look at the science. According to Dr. James Levine, an endocrinologist at the Mayo Clinic, sitting is the new smoking. Levine
has spent more than 15 years researching the dangers associated with a sedentary lifestyle. That’s when you sit still more than you move. Also known as being lazy as fuck (note: not a direct quote from Dr. Levine).
After all his research into the sitting/sedentary lifestyle, Levine concluded that sitting on your ass for six hours a day increases your risk for diabetes, obesity, depression, and some types of cancer. But that’s not even the worst of the news. Here goes: Regular exercise does not counteract the compounded damage of sitting, plus being sedentary.
Humans, all the way down to the cellular level, are engineered to move. When we don’t move, our body and brain go berserk. When and how we burn calories changes. The way we move and the length of our muscles change. Since we’re not moving or expending energy, the food we eat isn’t used as fuel. It’s stored as fat instead. We’re essentially reengineering how our body works, thereby teaching it to be unwell.
Be a Stand-up Person
Look, if you’re not already standing up while reading this, you’ll probably never understand the need to change your shitty, sitting-all-day habit. Hopefully, you’re interested in living a little bit longer. And if you are, if that’s something you can get into, try making these small changes to stand more, sit less, and live longer.
From now on, stand up whenever your phone rings. If you’re on a call, regardless of whether or not it’s a quick check-in or an hour-long conference call, you’re standing up.
Two for 20
Stand for two minutes every 20 minutes. Set a timer if you have to. Whenever it goes off, stand up, take a lap around the office, get a drink of water or use the restroom, then get back to work.
If you have the extra cash, or your company will write the check, treat yourself to a stand-up desk. On the other hand, if you’re looking to save some dough, make your own upright workstation by stacking milk crates on top of one another, before draping a tablecloth or piece of fabric on top of them.
There are two reasons to make every meeting a walking or standing meeting. One, you’re not sitting. You’re living longer already! Two, it eliminates all the bullshit from the meeting. Your meetings will instantly be shorter and straight to the point because other people are lazy and don’t want to stand or walk with you very long.
Every trip to the restroom is a chance to sneak in some exercise. If you’re in a public, multi-person restroom, pop into a stall. If you’re in a one-man bathroom, you can do almost anything. Take care of business and then stretch for a little bit. Do some lunges or squats, and a few jumping jacks while you’re at it. Making movement a mainstay in your day is your best bet.
From the June 2015 issue of Penthouse