Being Active – The Advantages
Sedentary living may be responsible for one third of all deaths caused by coronary heart disease, colon cancer and type ll diabetes. Less than 20% of the Australian population are active enough on a regular basis to meet their preventative health needs. We all know that exercise is linked to many positive physical and mental health benefits, but the vast majority of Australians are still not prepared to do any thing about it.
Regular physical activity eg walking can significantly reduce your risk of coronary heart disease, hypertension, stroke, osteoporosis, diabetes, depression and colon cancer.
Increasing physical activity such as walking or the accumulative cost of incidental exercise [taking the stairs instead of the lift] can have many positive benefits, which include:
Reduced body fat [weight] Reduce the risk of coronary heart disease
Reduce the risk of Diabetes Reduces the production of the bad cholesterol LDL
Improves Fitness Increases the production of the good cholesterol HDL
Increases strength and balance Lowers blood pressure
Helps prevent osteoporosis Reduces symptoms of arthritis
Maintains bone mineral density Increases self esteem
Improves longevity and quality of life Decreases mild depression
Improves mental clarity and wellbeing Decreases stress
Improves quality of sleep Increases relaxation
Maintains independence [elderly] Increases confidence to participate
How much exercise/activity is required to have a positive effect on our health?
Most health departments around the world agree that we should all be doing a minimum of 30 minutes of moderate physical activity such as walking on most days. To reverse the obesity epidemic and promote large amounts of weight loss the new recommendations for people living a sedentary lifestyle is to increase that figure to 60-90 minutes of moderate physical activity a day. I can hear most of you now ‘ No way do I have that amount of time’
The good news is exercise is accumulative, it doesn’t have to be done in one hit.
You can accumulate it during the day in 5-10 minute blocks. Just by increasing your movement levels at different times during the day you will reap the same benefits as someone who does it all in one stint.
You could do 10 minutes of walking before work and park the car a 10-minute walk from work. At lunchtime you could walk 10 minutes to get your lunch and with the 10-minute walk back to your car after work you have already exceeded the minimal amount. There are many ways or different combinations that we can do to increase our physical activity requirements. Even taking the stairs for a few floors instead of the lift, whilst talking on the phone, pace backwards and forwards or if it’s a mobile or cordless phone walk around.
Set yourself a goal that you will not watch any television, have your dinner or go to bed until the minimal 30 minutes of activity has been achieved each day.