We know that sitting for long periods is not healthy but this it is what most of us are doing for a living. What can we do to counteract this?
Little movement and often
Research shows that moving every hour for just two minutes reaps huge health benefits.
It is usually easier to fit into our lifestyles when we dovetail it into an existing habit
- If you are a regular tea drinker, you probably get up every hour to make yourself a cup of tea. How can you deliberately make the two minutes it takes for the kettle to boil active. If you work in an office, the vending machine will be significantly quicker to make a cup of tea, so it is taking two minutes to walk to the vending machine and back to your desk.
- Perhaps you regularly attend meetings. If you are creating the room booking, try to book a room that is at the other side of the building so it takes at least two minutes to walk there and which involves some stairs.
You could do this by setting your alarm to go off every hour to prompt you to move for two minutes.
Where can you walk for two minutes? Perhaps a light chore if you are working from home or just a lap or two around your flat.
Some fitness trackers now track this data for you. My Fitbit charge hr tracks this and some trackers you can set them up to nudge you to get moving every hour
Walking and work sandwiches
This is simply as is sounds, sandwiching in work with a decent walk on either side. To and from your home if you are lucky enough to walk to work or from wherever the bus or train drops you off or the car park. A triple decker sandwich is when you can go for a walk a lunch as well.
If you work from home, it usually works in reverse as you start working and then shuffle out for a walk mid morning and mid afternoon. It can be a little bit harder mentally to find an excuse or perhaps a few chores to stop working and get outside.
We are used to a goal of 10,000 steps a day which is a useful guide. Most phones have apps with step counters on them or there are fitness watches to fit most budgets these days.
I definitely think on my feet and no longer think going for a walk is time off as my brain starts whizzing with ideas and solutions as soon as start to move. Sitting for long periods has the opposite effect.
This activity does not replace formal exercise but regular movement is an important part of wellbeing. We were designed to move and be active! What can you do today to be just a wee bit more active than yesterday? What can you do tomorrow to be a wee bit more active than you are today?
Small steps make huge health changes.
Samantha Valand is the author of “The Menopause Diaries: A practical guide to healthy eating and exercising in your menopausal years”.
You can find out more about her book here.
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