Sitting is the New Smoking
Movement. Exercise. Just how much movement does it take to be healthy? You don't have to be a marathon runner to be healthy. Consistent, frequent movement throughout the day is the answer. Do you have to run or jog or go to the gym to be healthy? The answer is no. The frequency of movement is just as important as the type of movement. It is well known that people living in the blue zones are consistently moving, using their body, and have occasional brief moments of higher intensity movement. It is considered part of their healthy lifestyle.
If you haven't already established the healthy habit of incorporating movement into your daily routine, it's never too late to start. Whether you are a gardener, a farmer, a healthcare worker, or even a dog walker (in other words, have a job that requires movement), then you are probably getting a healthy dose of physical activity. If you have a desk job, are retired, or are more sedentary during the day, there are simple, easy-to-do things to increase your activity level. Sitting for long periods with lack of movement does have a negative impact on your overall health, so movement is vital. It is important to exercise both our brain AND our body in order to maintain strength and avoid atrophy.
If you work in a building with multiple stories, use the stairs if you are able. If you are at a desk for most of the day, a standing desk is an excellent solution. While you are sitting at your desk during the day, get up and move around at least once an hour. If you need to, set an alarm on your computer or phone. Stop what you're doing and get up out of your chair. Take some deep breaths, do arm circles, air squats, knee bends or walk down the hall and back. The important thing is to set a goal of moving for at least 30 seconds once an hour.
Walking is another way to increase your daily movement. Many people think that 10,000 steps a day is adequate movement, but I have discovered that it doesn't take a lot of movement to achieve that. My personal goal is 15,000 steps a day. You can track your steps per day in many ways. Some cell phones have apps that track your steps, but it is only accurate if you always have your cell phone in your pocket. There are many other devices available to track your steps too, so you have options.
A word on gym memberships: If you have one, great! If you have a gym membership but don't use it, well, that is another story. Gym membership is an option, but not a requirement, to achieve and maintain healthy movement. If you're not in a position (or frame of mind) to commit to making regular trips to the gym, then in my opinion, it's not worth the investment.
The key to achieving consistent, healthy movement is to be consistent in making small changes in your daily activity level in order to establish a new habit. Once frequent movement becomes a habit, you are most certainly on your way to being a healthier version of you.
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