I am off for my lunch hour walk. Some days I drag my feet, but knowing how I’ll feel once I return to the office gets me out (more on exercise and mood soon). In addition I have to keep accountable to my lunchtime walking partners (thank you Leslie and Teresa)!
If you haven’t heard yet, “sitting is the new smoking”. Sitting and smoking you ask? Well, research is beginning to equate sitting to smoking in terms of harm to overall health. A 2012 study analyzing the results of 18 studies with a total of nearly 800,000 participants found that higher levels of sedentary behavior were associated with a 112% increase in the risk of diabetes, 147% increase in the risk of cardiovascular disease, 90% increase in the risk of cardiovascular mortality and 49% increase in the risk of all cause mortality. Prolonged sitting is not what nature intended for us, yet it’s become the norm. Sitting in the car or in public transportation, sitting in front of a computer at work, sitting in meetings, sitting in front of the TV….the average American spends an average of 7.7 hours sitting each day.
So how can we fight this sitting disease? Here are some thoughts:
· Get off the bus or train a stop early
· Take the stairs
· Set up walking meetings at work and hiking dates with family and friends
· Set up reminders to walk at lunch or during breaks
· Walk or stand while on the phone
· Get a pedometer and count your steps (research shows that those who wear pedometers walk up to 2,000 more steps each day than non-wearers!)
· Start incorporating post-meal walks (which are effective at lowering the glycemic impact for those managing their blood sugar)
· Choose a parking spot that's far from the store entrance -- or just walk to the store
· Get a dog (dog owners take approximately 25% more steps per day than non-owners)
However you choose to fight the sitting the disease, whether it's during the work day, before or after, it should match your personal tastes and limitations. The American College of Sports Medicine recommends that healthy adults walk or exercise aerobically at a moderate pace* at least 150 minutes or at a vigorous pace at least 90 minutes a week. They also recommend adding resistance and flexibility training 2 to 3 times a week. This might be too much to start. An initial goal of walking 15 minutes 3 times a week will benefit you in the beginning and leave plenty of room for you to increase the duration as your mood and energy improve.
Alrighty then, I'm outta here. As the father of modern medicine, Hippocrates, said, “walking is man’s best medicine.” Let’s all start taking his advice today.
* You'll know its moderate by taking the “talk test” — you should be able to talk while working out, but not sing.
Hello and welcome! My name is Andrea Notch Mayzeles. I am a Certified Health Education Specialist, Mom, and Master of Public Health dedicated to the path of well-being. As a wellness professional I am committed to continued learning and am here to share research, recipes and musings on health, psychology, personal development, and parenting. I hope you enjoy!