There’s more and more evidence that simply getting off the couch and moving around for short periods of time improves your health. Lite exercise is amazingly helpful for bone, heart, and brain health. We should take twenty minutes a day, or one hour three times a week, for walking, swimming, cycling and other enjoyable activities.
There’s no need to do maximum aerobic exercises and even sweating is optional. This is great news for people who are adverse to formal exercising and gyms – but it still takes some motivation to get up and get moving!
Harvard researchers found that postmenopausal women who sit for long stretches of time have an increased risk of sudden death. Simply walking around every 30 to 60 minutes decreased that risk considerably. Even fit women had a higher risk of death if they sat for long periods of time. So, get up and walk around when you’ve been sitting while watching TV, traveling in a car, or working at a desk or computer. The short message: Sit More, Live less.
Another report published in the Journal of Physical Activity and Health and reported by CBS News showed that every extra hour spent sitting doubles the risk of disability for seniors.
This is consistent with our recommendation to keep moving and do light activities whenever possible. We even provide a comprehensive list of lite exercises that are good for bones and joints, and overall health, on our website.
There are many ways to increase the time you spend doing activities that improve your balance and increase activity levels. Some suggestions are:
- Get up and move around during TV commercials at least twice each hour of television viewing
- Park farther from the entrance to buildings so you have to walk a little farther
- Take the stairs instead of the elevator whenever possible
- Stand when you’re waiting, or better yet, practice standing on one leg and then the other leg for better balance
- Walk like you’re trying to walk on a balance beam by putting one foot right in front of the other for a few steps
- In the kitchen, place frequently used pots and dishes on the highest or lowest shelf so you have to stretch or bend to use them or to put them away
- Stand up and walk around after you’ve been sitting for an hour
Also, keep in mind the saying, “If it’s physical, it’s therapy”. This will help you think of exercise as total body wellness.