The human body is designed to move. And for thousands of years, that’s exactly what it did. However, modern technological advances – including a rise in car culture and the shift to office-based work – has seen people spend more time sitting and less time moving. It is now reaching crisis point with the World Health Organisation reporting 1 in 4 adults are too sedentary and are at risk of serious health problems.
What is sedentary behaviour?
Sedentary behaviour is defined as sitting or lying down (excluding time spent sleeping). Examples include sitting at a desk, lying on the couch, sitting at the dinner table and travelling in a car.
What are the risks associated with a sedentary lifestyle?
Evidence shows a direct correlation between a sedentary lifestyle and an increased risk of:
- Loss of muscle and bone strength
- Back, shoulder and neck injury (did you know sitting for as little as 4 hours straight can increase pressure on your lower back?)
- Heart disease
- Reduced circulation
- Memory loss
So, it seems one of the worse things you can do to your body is to do nothing at all.
According to guidelines set out by the Australian Department of Health, children aged 13-17 should undertake at least 1 hour of moderate to vigorous activity every day. Adults should aim for 2.5 hours moderate activity or 1.25 hours of vigorous activity each week.
It is important to note that a person can achieve the recommended amount of physical activity and still be considered sedentary. This is especially true if they spend a large amount of their day sitting at a desk for work or study.
So, how can we move more and sit less? Following are my top tips for reducing sedentary behaviour at both home and work:
- Leave the car at home for short trips
- Get up and change the TV channel instead of using the remote
- Place your phone out of arm’s reach so you are forced to get up to answer it
- Walk around the house when talking on the phone
- Stand up and move during TV commercials
- Stand up whilst on public transport and/or get off one stop earlier
- Take a brief walk at lunch time instead of eating at your desk
- Sit away from the bin and printer so you are forced to get up when you need them
- Organise “walk and talk” meetings with your colleagues
- Deliver a message in person rather than send an email
- Take the stairs instead of the lift
- Walk a lap of the office, 5-8 times a day
There will always be times when you need to sit – reading, doing school work, working on a computer or driving. However, the key is finding a healthy balance.
If you or anyone in your family is feeling the effects of insufficient movement, especially regarding muscle strength and injury to back, shoulder and neck, contact us on 9972 3304. It is never too late to get moving! Or click here to make an appointment online.