According to the British Heart Foundation, the average adult in the UK spends 9.5 waking hours a day without moving their bodies at all! If we take an honest look at our lives, most of us spend a significant proportion of our lives either laying down while we sleep, or sitting on our bums while we work, drive, watch TV or socialise.
Many people are aware of this, and try to ensure that they squeeze in some time for exercise to try to offset the effects of sitting for long periods. Physical exercise is incredibly important but recent research indicates that sitting for long periods is detrimental for our health, regardless of whether you fulfil the recommended 30minute daily exercise quota. In other words, heading to the gym may not make up for the damage caused by sitting on your bum all day!
“A 12-year study of 17,000 Canadian adults found that those who spent most of their time sitting were 50% more likely to die during the follow-up than those that sit the least, even after controlling for age, smoking, and physical activity levels.”
Physical inactivity and low physical activity are now considered to be the fourth most important risk factor in the UK for premature death from any cause, including coronary heart disease (BHF Physical Activity and Sedentary Behaviours Report, 2017). Sitting for extended periods has been linked to a reduction in your metabolism, increased likelihood of obesity, diabetes, poor mental health and early death. Wow, that’s quite some list!
The key message, is yes physical exercise is important, but we also need to move around more during the day. The following are a few top tips to help you to incorporate more physical movement in your daily life. The added bonus with these methods is they require zero time :)
The average kettle takes 2-3 minutes to boil. So you can either stare at it, willing it to bubble or you could use that time. Each time you click the switch, see how many push ups you can do against the counter. You don’t need exercise clothes on, you won’t get sweaty but you will feel the benefits. Check out this quick video from Two Minute Moves on YouTube for a few handy tips.
Stairs are the perfect opportunity to get the blood pumping. So avoid those escalators and lifts altogether – our bodies were meant to be used, not mechanically elevated! (and don’t get me started on travelators!). As for the time difference, it’ll take you just a few seconds longer if you opt for the stairs compared to the escalator. By the time you wait for a lift, squish in there and stop at multiple floors – you’ll probably save yourself time by taking the healthier route!
Many of us have jobs that require a lot of screen time, which typically means a lot of sitting on bums time. Thankfully there are now lots of different workstations available so that you can create a set up that really works for you. If you opt for a fully adjustable mobile workstation (like the one in the pic) you can move it to different places for a change of scenery, and you can also set it up so that you can stand while you work. Recent studies have shown that it helps you to keep more alert, you move around more, it improves your mood state, it helps you to lose weight and it saves your back and bum from the inevitable aching slump position!
When you need to make a call, stand up and walk around. It will stimulate blood flow around the body and help to keep your brain switched on too.
Get out of the office when you need to meet up, and do ‘walk and talk’ meetings outside instead. A change of environment, fresh air, movement and nature are a powerful combination for stimulating ideas, exercising and improving mood state.
If you work at home, then take a few minutes out to do something practical. Even tidying around gets you moving, and you’re having a break away from what you were focusing on. In fact you’re actually hitting four birds with one stone – the chores get done, you’re decluttering, you’re taking a mental break and you’re getting your body moving!
If you’re sat down or stationary for periods of time, use the opportunity to exercise your hands and arms. Simple bicep curls with some light weights are an effective way of helping to keep your arms in trim. If you haven’t got any available, then grab a bottle of water or a can of tomatoes!
Instead of collapsing onto the sofa to catch up on your favourite programmes, do a round of exercises or a few minutes of yoga while you watch.
So, I challenge you to put at least two of these methods into action today! Let us know how you get on, and if you’ve got any other tips feel free to pop them in the comments below.
Have a great day and enjoy moving your body more!
P.S If you want to make positive changes in your life, then check out our Ultimate Wellbeing Programme and if you’re really serious our Fuel Performance Programme. Enjoy exploring, and remember… nothing happens without action!