In this day and age, we are learning to be more conscious of our health. We try to go for a run or go to a gym session, in order to engage in some form of physical activity to help us stay fit and healthy. However, is this enough for our health? Research keeps showing that as we get on with life, it is involving a lot of sitting down behaviour. Whether on a bus, at a desk or on a sofa, we are constantly sitting down. This sitting down does not make up for the physical activity done despite it being better than doing nothing.
In this blog, I aim to suggest some ways we can reduce our sedentary lifestyle, without altering too much of our routine. That is, incorporating some milder physical activity whilst we get on with our day. These may seem quite simple and are fairly easy to do while being as effective as vigorous physical activity.
The first suggestion is to keep a reminder on your phone or laptop to go off every one hour or so, in order to break down your sitting time. You can either go pace a little bit or do some stretching to move around, flexing your body and circulating some blood through different body parts. This can be done for a couple of minutes and can help with your posture and get you moving a bit around.
Another suggestion includes going up and down the stairs rather than resorting to using lifts and escalators. If you need to go to the top floor, why not go there whilst getting in some exercise? This may seem very daunting at first, but the more you do it, the more your body becomes accustomed to it and the easier it actually becomes.
Do you find yourself constantly on your phone answering calls? Unless you really have to be sitting down jotting notes, why don’t you pace a bit around whilst taking the call? Maybe around your office, or in the corridor, or on your office roof or garden. Pacing around whilst getting your task done can be quite satisfying especially if you manage to get some fresh air.
My last suggestion includes a rather challenging one for our culture as we are accustomed to using our car for everything. Why not bike or walk to work if the weather permits? If you have to travel by car, why not at least park a bit further away from your destination and walk a bit to it, to get some exercise done whilst you get to where you need to go?
In today’s world, we are constantly improving our technology and it can sometimes work in favour of our laziness and in using the easiest way out. However, we can use this technology to our advantage. Most smart phones allow apps that will easily count your steps or monitor your physical activity. You can use this to look at your physical activity outcome of that day or set targets for the future.
I hope these small tips help with improving sedentary behaviour as it can have serious long-term health consequences. So, my suggestion to you is, after reading this blog, why don’t you take a small walk and enjoy the environment around you?
Danica Cassar has graduated in Bachelor of Psychology (Honours) at the University of Malta and is currently reading for a Master in Health Psychology at the University of Bath.