Activity, activity, activity. It may be like it’s all you hear sometimes.
There’s a good reason why that advice dominates: it has a lot of benefits, including lower risk for a host of chronic conditions like high blood pressure and diabetes. It can also help with mobility.
It’s biggest benefit can be that it offers the opposite of sedentary behavior, which means spending a lot of time sitting and not moving.
Sedentary living dominates much of western culture. Many people have desk jobs, drive to work, then sit in front of the television before heading to bed. Getting together with friends often involves going to the movies or heading for a coffee or a meal.
People sit a lot.
Bad things start happening when you sit too much and don’t get enough activity. Muscles can atrophy, which means you’re weaker and more susceptible to falls, injuries, and immobility. Independence can take a major hit.
It also impacts your heart health. Sitting can weaken your heart and limit its efficiency in moving oxygenated blood around your body. Further, sitting can promote blood pooling, poor circulation, and rigid arteries.
Too much inactivity and sitting can also lead to snacking and weight gain, exacerbated by the fact that limited movement can impact glucose metabolism and lead to higher blood sugar. This boosts the risk of diabetes and heart disease.
If you’re not motivated to move more by the benefits of activity, perhaps the risks of sitting too much will offer some inspiration to lead a more active life.
Scheduling exercise into your day, at least 30 minutes, can help negate some of the risks of sedentary living. Easy ways to implement movement into your day include parking further away from entrances, taking the stairs, or walking to errands and social engagements.