The Silent Killer
Inactivity is posing a serious threat to the health of millions of people, but many are unaware of the seriousness of the problem and the harm it does to their bodies. Sedentary lifestyles are now increasingly being linked to a whole host of chronic health conditions including obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, some types of cancer and premature deaths. Prolonged periods of inactivity can reduce metabolism and reduce the body’s ability to regulate blood pressure, sugar levels and metabolise fat. Mental wellbeing can also be negatively impacted increasing the risk of suffering from conditions such as depression and anxiety whilst also making us more lethargic.
The problem is the effects build up silently over time such that we may not even notice the slow and progressive damage being done to our bodies. It simply does not register that something as apparently harmless as sitting, when done frequently for prolonged periods can, according to some experts, be as bad for us as smoking. The human body was never designed to sit around all day and barely move and it goes against nature to do so, with potentially dire consequences. It is literally killing us slowly and we often do not even notice until it is too late.
Whether its work, TV, computer games or even just sitting around playing with your smart phone or tablet the hours you spend sitting, reclining or lying down can quickly add up to unhealthy levels. Even those who taking regular exercise and play sports, which are of course beneficial, can still be adversely affected if they spend prolonged periods being inactivity.
The older we get the more likely we are to slip into a sedentary lifestyle up to 70% of adults sitting for more than 8 hours a day and many taking no regular exercise at all. With enduring lockdowns, social distancing and working from home due to the pandemic the problem is being made worse with many people’s daily commute now just a few metres from bedroom to desk. It is therefore vital we find time and make an effort to quite simply MOVE more!
Here are some tips to combat inactivity:
- stand up as much as possible, just standing gets the blood pumping better
- set reminders to stand up regularly throughout the day
- stand and walk around when on the phone
- walk whenever possible
- do just 10 squats, 3 times a day (morning before starting work, lunchtime and when you finish).
- spend more time doing chores at home, especially cooking, DIY or gardening
- go outside more….as much as possible
- plan to make phone calls outside whilst walking around
- plan to spend some free time being active, it will not just happen by itself
- get up and walk around during TV commercials
- take the stairs instead of the elevator (down…and up)
- keep dumbbells, or even cans, of food close to where you sit to be reminded to do lifts and curls while in front of a screen
- plan to do physical exercise by setting and keeping to a regular schedule
- frequently get up and walk around or march on the spot for 30 seconds
- do short bursts of press ups against a wall or table
- stretch including bending over to touch your toes
Exercise doesn’t always have to be strenuous or for a long period of time. Every bit of extra movement of your muscles and joints helps. Some of the above take just a few seconds or minutes, so be disciplined, make a conscious effort, commit to doing as many as possible as often as possible throughout the day and make them a habit.
Stay active, avoid the dangers and keep moving!