Recent research carried out at the University of Sydney’s School of Public Health has uncovered some alarming statistics on how our sedentary lifestyles are shortening our lives more than we realised.
One of the most interesting points to come out of this study, and many others like it is that the amount of time spent sitting can influence our health even if we are active at other times. In other words, a short workout at the end of a day spent working in front of your computer may not be enough to guarantee you a longer life.
The co-author of one of the most compelling studies Adrian Bauman has been quoted as saying “physical inactivity causes as many deaths as does smoking”. Globally it causes 50% more deaths than obesity, yet we don’t fund physical inactivity strategies as much as we fund obesity prevention and tobacco prevention, so we need to get on the case. The study showed that the lowest risk is for those who are physically active and don’t sit, with the highest risk for those who don’t do any physical activity and sit a lot of the day.
The way we live our lives has changed significantly in recent years. The way we live and work, the ease of transportation, the proliferation of electronic devices and stationary entertainment such as TV and gaming has meant for many adults (and children) sitting has become the default setting for life.
So what does this mean for the average person who works in an office 9 to 5 and is unable to get out and about throughout the day? Or for the ‘active couch potato’ who spends most of their life seated, but squeezes in some exercise for the recommended 30 minutes most days?
The good news is that the health benefits of that workout are not in question. That regular workout you are doing is having a positive impact on your life, your health and your wellbeing. However, in order to maximize those health benefits, a more active approach to some of the other 23 hours of the day is needed.
A lifestyle approach to health and fitness is what is needed. This means integrating activity into what you do throughout your life as well as the regular structured workout you do at the gym, park or with your trainer. It doesn’t have to be 100 push ups at your desk every time the phone rings, or running up 10 flights of stairs every time you need a toilet break, there are some simple things you can do to add movement into all parts of your day.
The risks are clear but the benefits of making some simple changes are easily achieved. Talk to me about how adding activity into your working day can add more days to your life. We can develop a fun and effective way to increase your activity and add years to your life!
Mybod is SMEAEP endorsed by Exercise NZ so if your workplace wants to help you be healthier and happier we can develop something together – and its Fringe Benefit Tax Exempt!