The human body is incredibly efficient and adaptable. If you let muscles and joints stop moving, over time the overall body loses the ability to move and specifically, if you are not using a certain muscle because you are in a sustained sitting posture all day, your body will shut that muscle down. This can lead to neck pain, back pain, headaches, and repetitive strain injuries.
- The majority of North Americans face increased risk of chronic disease and premature death due to physically inactive lifestyles. (56% are inactive)
- More women than men are physically inactive. (59% vs 53%)
- Physical inactivity increases with age. (Older women: 68% vs Older men: 53%)
- This is very relevant for women as they age because more women die from Osteoporosis and its complications (such as hip fractures) than from all cancers combined. Increasing activity levels will decrease incidence of this terrible disease.
- Youth ages 12-19: 82% have not been active enough to meet international guidelines for optimal growth and development. Girls are less active than boys (64% vs 48%)
If you want to move well when you are older, you must keep your body moving well as you age. Life is motion. When we stop moving, we stop living, which is why staying active is the number one desire of people as they age. When you talk to healthy people over 80, they will almost unanimously say their secret is “keeping active.” Motion is vital for health and aging well.
- 30 minutes of physical activity most days of the week will be enough…..and here’s the important part….that doesn’t have to be all in one session.
- Doing 3 or more 10 minute segments of activity a day will make a BIG difference in your health and your weight.
- Walk up or down the stairs instead of taking the elevator
- Park at the back of the parking lot at the mall or the grocery store
- While working at your computer, set an alarm for every 30 minutes to get up and wiggle and stretch and move for 2 minutes then get back to work
- Pace while you are on the phone….don’t sit in your chair
- If possible have a desk that can move from seated to standing height so you can change it up
- Some people have a treadmill desk where they walk as they type at their computer or as they read
- Sit on an exercise ball while in front of your computer, it will keep your core musculature active and is much better than sitting still on a chair
- Get a pedometer and measure how many steps you take in a day. You should aim for 10 000 per day and 500 at a time in small bursts.
Dr. Peggy Malone is a Chiropractor and an Athlete who helps other athletes to overcome injury and get back to their sport. Her weekly Television Series ‘Living Well” inspires people from all walks of life to take control of their health to be as happy and as healthy as they can be.
A former varsity Basketball and Rugby player, she has since entered the world of endurance athletics where she has completed 2 Ironman Triathlons, 3 Marathons, several Half Marathons and many other Triathlons, Road Races and Off-Road Adventure races of varying distances.
Her own athletic endeavors and injuries have given her valuable insight into working with athletes in her practice for both the care of injuries as well as for the improvement of athletic performance.