Hate Exercise But Want to Stay Healthy After 60? Don’t Worry! Just Move!
Ever think about how much time you spend sitting each and every day? Right now, as I am on yet another airplane flying to yet another consulting gig, I am trapped in my seat, belted in for the three-hour flight, like it or not.
Well, OK, I took one trip to the restroom, but that’s it. And before that, I spent an hour sitting in the waiting area; before that, another hour and a half driving to the airport – you get the gist.
Most of us spend much of our day sitting: at computers, in cars or buses, at desks or workstations. And most of us come home at the end of the day, wanting nothing more than to veg in front of Netflix, Amazon, the TV or with a good book.
Even if we’ve been home all day, we still tend to flop on the couch at the end of the day.
Stop the Sitting
Yet all that sitting is most definitely not good for us. Especially not good for our happy healthy longevity. Studies have shown that chronic sitting, in and of itself, is a highly significant risk factor for ill health and early death.
Among the studies, a 2012 metanalysis reviewed the findings of 18 studies with a total of 794,577 participants. It found that people who sat for the longest periods of time on a daily basis were twice as likely to have diabetes or heart disease, compared to those who sat for the least amount of time.
Another study found that those who sat more than eight hours a day raised their risk of Type 2 diabetes by an astonishing 90 percent!
No, this is not yet another call to “Exercise!” Although exercise certainly benefits our well-being and long-term health. This is simply a reminder to stand up and move! For every hour you sit, stand up for at least 5 – 10 minutes, and walk around if possible.
Walking is a fantastic way of engaging your cardiovascular system. It helps get your blood flowing throughout your body and puts your muscular and cellular systems – that process your blood sugar, triglycerides and cholesterol – in gear, which are critical to keeping your insulin levels healthy.
Benefits of Moving More
Research undertaken by Oslo University Hospital studied a group of some 5,700 older men over a period of 12 years. The study showed that even those who only did some light walking 30 minutes a day, six days a week, reduced their risk of death by about 40 percent. That’s huge!
If you think about it, 30 minutes a day is not that big a deal. Don’t assume walking only means “walking around the block,” though.
Instead, think of it as the walking you do from one room to the next as you prepare meals, do the laundry, walk the dog, chase the grandchildren around the house or spend some of your lunch hour walking the halls, around a patio or wherever else your fancy takes you.
How much walking per day do you think Monica Bulman, age 83, does as a nurse at the Torbay Hospital in South Devon, UK? Up and down and all around with patient care for the past 64+ years, Monica’s sitting is rarely more than a few moments to input a patient’s chart notes into the computer.
Adding that to the grandchildren she plays with when not on duty, Monica is up on her feet and moving most of the time. All that walking is terrific for her health, which combined with her love of her job, makes for one happy woman. She has no plans to retire.
So get up! Stand up! Move around! Give your body a break. Your heart will thank you, your overall well-being will improve, and with that, your happiness quotient will definitely be on the rise.
Do you count your steps each day with your phone or a fitness tracker? How many steps do you average a day? What specific health benefits have you enjoyed because you increased your amount of walking? What benefits or advantages do you think walking can give you health-wise that other types of exercise can’t? Please share your walking routine in the comments below!
Dr. Noelle Nelson is a psychologist, consultant and speaker. She is passionate about personal growth and happiness. She’s authored over a dozen books including “Happy Healthy… Dead: Why What You Think You Know About Aging Is Wrong and How To Get It Right.” Please visit Noelle’s website.