Don't just sit there

Don't just sit there

27th October 2019

My first blog after the summer was on increasing your physical activity levels and making your calories work for you.

When we think about being healthy, and perhaps even getting our weight under control, many of us rightly think about being more active. However, how many of us actually think about being less inactive? Yes, I know that is a double negative, however, it is important for our health that we decrease the amount of time we spend sitting and being inactive. 

Let's have a think about what me mean by inactivity. The proper term is sedentary behaviours, and this means spending a lot of time sitting down and not doing anything physically active. In our modern society, this is very often related to using computer or tablet screens for work and entertainment, watching TV or using our mobile phones. It might also include time we spend travelling in cars and public transport. Some of this will be work related, but a lot of this time is recreational.

Over the last few years, there has been a lot of research work to show that being inactive is detrimental to our health and puts us at a higher risk of many diseases such as an increased risk of heart disease and type 2 diabetes. Watch this excellent video from a Canadian Physician Dr Mike Evans, called 'Let's make our day harder'. Dr Mike is famous for his videos on health and particularly around being more active. The sister video to 'Lets make our day harder' is called '23.5 hours'. It is first rate and hard hitting in explaining the importance to our health of increasing levels of physical activity. If you have never seen either of these videos, I would highly recommend that you watch them.

What sort of things can we do to decrease our inactivity levels? -

  • Get up at least once an hour and move around the home or in the office
  • If you spend a lot of the day at a desk, could you get a standing desk?
  • Take the stairs instead of lifts and escalators
  • Get off the bus a few stops earlier and walk the rest of the way
  • Try not to take the car for short journeys
  • Timetable into your day when you could be more active.

Challenges to getting started

If you find that you are struggling with time, worrying about what to wear or the weather, then write down your concerns and see if you can come up with solutions. Some people use wearables, such as watches, activity trackers and apps on phones to count their daily steps, to get them started and keep them motivated. The number most often used is 10,000 steps a day. If you are not at that level then start by aiming to increase your number of steps by 1000 over the week.

Health warning

If you have any concerns over your health and taking any form of physical activity then please speak to your GP before starting.

Remember it is always best to increase your levels of physical activity gradually.

Dr Laura

October 2019

Image for the World Obesity Image Bank