I've just seen the results of a new study commissioned by the American Cancer Association. Popular thinking used to insist that one hour's excercise per day would keep you healthy, but new evidence debunks this theory.
The study, done on more than 120 000 healthy participants over thirteen years, shows that prolonged sitting is serious health risk. That's right- sitting. Women who sit for six hours a day were 40% more likley to die younger than those who sat for less than three hours a day. Men who sat long hours each day had a 20% increased chance of dying young than their more active counterparts.
Of course, the study didn't factor in sitting and shockling as we do during davening, nor did they study the benefits of working up a sweat and gyrating your thumb while studying Talmud in Yeshivah.
Logically, when you sit around you tend to snack more than when you're active. But, long sitting sessions also supress your immune system and slow blood circulation. When you sit for long periods, you also alter your body's metabolism, which can increase cholestrol.
The message is clear: Keep moving.
Our bodies and souls operate in a very similar fashion. You need to keep your body active to keep it healthy, and you need to do the same for your soul. One hour's "excercise" for the soul each day doesn't keep you spiritually fit, much less so a couple of hours on weekends.
When you stimulate your soul- which you do when you get up and join a shiur, hop over to Shul or do an extra mitvzah- it comes to life. If you wait for your soul to wake up and inspire you before you'll actually do anything, you'll find yourself sitting for along time. And sitting spiritually still for prolonged periods leads to premature death of inspiration.