How many hours every day do you sit? You might be surprise how many hours you spend sitting down in front of the television, at a computer, or behind the wheel of your car. Recent research indicates that Australians and New Zealanders watch over 21 hours of television a week. That’s almost a day a month. And it’s not counting all the other hours we spend sitting with our smart phones, tablets and computers. Or the one in three workers who spend three quarters of their time at work sitting down.
Whether you’re a desk jockey or sofa spud, moving around is important to your health. In fact, along with eating right and maintaining a healthy weight, national physical activity guidelines recommend that adults under age 65 get at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity every week — activities like brisk walking or swimming. With 12 million Australian and almost 2.5 million New Zealand adults weighing in at heavy or obese, and the increased risks for related conditions such as heart disease, stroke, and diabetes that goes with it, sitting around may be more damaging than you think!
Before starting any new exercise regimen, be sure to consult your doctor.
Get Moving! Stay Active!
The American Heart Association offers easy tips for getting active both at home, work or play. Here are some ways to help you get started:
- Pick up the pace at home. When watching TV, sit up and stretch instead of lying on the sofa. Better yet, pedal a stationary bike while watching TV. Take a short walk (choose a hilly route), do your own housework, rake those leaves, or take out that trash
- Plan outings that include physical activities with family and friends. Go for a hike, go backpacking, or try swimming. See the sights by walking, jogging, or bicycling
- Join a fitness centre. Work out before or after work. You can also walk during business calls, take the stairs, or stroll over to co-worker’s decks to speak instead of using the phone
- Leave your car behind. Finding a parking spot can be a hassle anyway. Why not walk or bike to places near you? And, when you go to the mall, try parking as far away as you can and walk to the store
Don’t be afraid to let your imagination loose and get creative! Physical activity can be anything, as long as you keep moving! Modify sports and workouts to fit your level of fitness. Whether it’s replacing your chair with an exercise ball, lifting weights while watching TV, or working out during your lunch break, think outside of the box.
Staying motivated can be difficult. But there are things you can do to increase your chance for success. For example:
- Reward yourself when you reach a goal or complete a challenge
- Use technology like a smart-phone app, a fitness watch, or a similar wearable tool to track fitness levels, so you can see results and progress daily
- Incorporate activities into your everyday routine to increase blood flow, tone muscles, improve your mood, and help with weight control—ultimately leading to a healthier you
Still sitting at your screen reading this article? Now might be the perfect time to get up, get out, and get active!
- 1. Neilsen Australia. Accessed 11/2/2017.
- 2. Neilsen New Zealand. Accessed 11/2/2017.
- 3. Australian Bureau of Statistics. Australian Health Survey: Physical Activity, 2011-12 Accessed 11/2/2017.
- 4. Aust. Dept. Health. Factsheet: Physical Activity and Sedentary Behaviour Guidelines. Accessed 11/2/2017.
- 5. New Zealand Ministry of Health. Eating and Acitivity Guidelines. Accessed 11/2/2017.
- 6. Australian Bureau of Statistics. Profiles of Health. Accessed 11/2/2017.
- 7. New Zealand Ministry of Health. Obesitiy statistics. Accessed 11/2/2017.