There has been a lot of press over the last few weeks highlighting the dangers of our increasing sedentary lifestyles and rather than the usual focus on ‘you must be thin to be beautiful’ mantra these articles have raise important health and wellness issues related to a less than energetic day to day routine.We are now spending hours every day sitting at our desks, watching TV, plugged into the net or playing competitive sports from our armchairs through games consoles! We drive to work, park in the closest possible space and have lunch delivered (or collect from the conveniently located shop nearby!). Convenience is rooting us more firmly than ever to a sitting position where a quick daily stroll or twice a week gym visit is the sum total of the exercise our poor bodies get. We need to start moving - and that doesn’t mean to a lycra clad sweating version of yourself!.
Sitting for long periods reduces muscle tone and the efficiency of our circulation, increases our risk of Deep Vein Thrombosis and if we are not sitting properly, can wreak all sorts of havoc with our posture long term. So if sweating it out is not the key what is? Little and often. Here are some top tips to get you moving more:
- Get yourself a pedometer and use it daily. Tracking how many steps you actually take everyday gives you gives you focus for upping that number to the recommended amount - around 8-10 thousand per day is he general consensus for a healthy number.
- Look at where you can gain some easy steps each day - park your car a little further away, take a lunchtime stroll or use the stairs instead of the lift.
- Check your desk and seating position. Much like your bed, you spend hours there daily so treat it with the same care and attention you would when purchasing new sleeping space! Make sure that your chair is correctly angled for your height and weight and matched to the desk style and position. Use wrist guards and foot rests to help keep you sitting upright and comfortable.
- Take regular breaks. Get away from your desk, stretch, yawn, clear your head and rehydrate otherwise you will be good for nothing come mid afternoon!. Fidgeting is good for you too, moving whilst seating is a good way to ensure that your circulation doesn’t fall asleep too.
- Regular exercise is a must but do something you enjoy. Brisk walking with the dog every morning is a great way to get the heart rate raised - just up the pace to feel a little breathless (yes this DOES count as exercise!). Yoga is considerably more strenuous than many believe (as any devotees out there will know!), it’s also great for your posture, core muscle strength and and stress busting effects. If organised exercise is not your thing, arrange a weekend friends and family game of tennis, cricket, frisbee or any other ‘need to move whilst doing this’ activity.
- Exercise is not the only way to get your circulation going and your muscles whipped into shape, massage is as beneficial as it is fabulously addictive. Regular massage by a well trained bod (such as own lovely Dermalogica trained therapists housed at the Jersey Treatment Rooms) will have your skin looking and feeling firmer, your circulation much improved and those aches and pains reduced. Aim for a monthly session as funds and time allow.
Focus on moving your body not moving those inches and you will soon be feeling less sluggish and more energised. Activities which you enjoy, interspersed with simple but effective changes, indulged in little and often is the key to getting your body on the move again.
What are your top tips for increasing daily activity easily?