Do you know how many hours you spend sitting a day? According to research that has been undertaken, on average, British people sit for 8.9 hours every day. Further research has found that people aged 65 and over, spend 10 hours or more sitting or lying down each day. That’s a lot of hours sitting!
The increasing number of hours people are sitting reflects the modern lifestyle they live, which involves less physical activity in their daily lives. There is an increasing body of evidence that a sedentary lifestyle is damaging for people’s health. The serious consequences of inactivity has even led the Department of Health and Social Care to describe inactivity as a “silent killer”.
In this post our Stoke chiropractor covers the health benefits of staying active, what counts towards increasing activity and the one form of physical activity that most anyone can get started with, that doesn’t involve membership to a gym, hiring a personal trainer or purchasing expensive equipment.
How Staying Active Can Lower The Risk Of Many Health Conditions
There is substantial scientific evidence that being physically active can help you lead a healthier and happier life, whatever your age. Research has shown that people who take regular exercise have a lower risk of developing many long-term chronic conditions such as:
- type 2 diabetes
- coronary heart disease
- stroke and
- some cancers such as bowel cancer and breast cancer in women
Also, it has been proven medically that people who take regular physical activity have a lower risk of:
- early death
- hip fracture and
- falls among older adults
Physical activity can also boost mood, energy, self-esteem and sleep quality and reduce the risk of stress, clinical depression dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.
What Counts Towards Increasing Activity
To achieve the recommended level of activity to stay healthy, the Physical Activity Guidelines laid out by the UK Chief Medical Officer states that adults between the ages of 19 to 64 should be active every day and should aim to do at least 150 minutes a week of moderate intensity physical activity.
The simplest way for most people to increase their activity level is to incorporate moving more into their daily lives thereby reducing the hours spent sitting or lying. But what counts towards moderate aerobic activity?
A good way of knowing if you are working at a moderate aerobic activity level is to check if you can sing. You should be able to talk but not sing! Types of activities you could undertake include:
- playing doubles tennis
- pushing a lawn mower
The Guidelines also recommend doing strengthening activities at least twice a week, working the major muscle groups in the body. Some examples of strengthening activities include:
- lifting weight
- carrying heavy shopping
- doing heavy gardening
The Simplest Activity Recommended By Our Stoke Chiropractor
Our chiropractors at City Chiropractic Clinic in Stoke are often asked what exercise they recommend for people to get started with and the answer surprises so many patients. It’s simple, free and most anyone can do it and it’s the most overlooked form of exercise.
If you haven’t guessed, it’s walking.
Taking a brisk 10 minute walk every day is beneficial and counts towards the recommended 150 minutes of weekly exercise. The key is ‘brisk walking’ and you’ll know if you are walking at this pace if you can talk but not sing.
If you are starting out and have not been doing any form of exercise then pace yourself. Start slowly and build up your activity level over time.
If you have joint problems, you may find exercising in your local swimming pool to be beneficial as the water will help support your joints.
The important thing is to get started and to make it a habit.
However, before getting started you should speak to your GP or health care professional if you have not exercised for some time, or if you have medical conditions or concerns. Always ensure that your activity and intensity are appropriate for your level of fitness.