Move it or Lose it
If you spend much of your day on your feet I’ve got good news for you. In recent research in people over 45, those who sat for eight to eleven hours a day had 1.15 time greater chance of death than those who sat for less than four hours a day. Sedentary lifestyles are also associated with increased risk of diabetes, cancer, heart disease and dementia.
The benefits of movement are profound.
You may have noticed that there is a common theme to the articles I have written. Good health is something that we all long for, although we may not appreciate it until we lose it. Having good health and ageing well is not about getting lucky. It is about making lifestyle choices that are investments in our long term health.
In order to be healthy and enjoy life we need to be able to move well. Muscles, bones, hearts, brains and our digestive system all respond to movement.
If even one part of our body is immobilised, for example, put in a cast to heal a broken bone, it weakens within days. Fortunately this weakness is reversible. And returning to activity and exercise strengthens it again.
It is never too late to increase your activity level. I know people in their 80’s who keep active by walking, gardening, swimming and bowling. There are dedicated exercises classes in Collie for over 50’s that are not quite ready for Zumba.
Children respond well to activity also. The Australian Government Department of Health and Ageing recommends that children should participate in at least 60 minutes (and up to several hours) of moderate to vigorous intensity exercise every day. Active play such as riding a bike, jumping on a trampoline or running around the back yard fits this definition. The guidelines also state that children should not spend more than 2 hours a day using electronic media for entertainment (eg. Computer games, internet, TV).
There is good reason for these recommendations. Like adults, children who are active every day are less likely to be overweight, sleep better, focus better in the classroom and are at lower risk of developing diseases such as diabetes. Keep in mind that children are far more likely to do what you do, rather than do what you say. So if they see you modelling an active lifestyle, and you ride your bike to the park with them you’ll be far more successful at getting them active than if you’re glued to the TV and trying to persuade them to play outdoors.
Remember that if you have been relatively inactive (a couch potato in other words) and you are going to start vigorous exercise you would be wise to seek advice from your health practitioner first.
Now, decide what you can do today to move more. You’ll soon be reaping the rewards of increased energy and greater ease.
Esyltt Graham B.App.Sc (Chiro) M.Sc Chiropractic (Paeds)