Now that I’ve gotten your attention, let’s dial down the alarmism, shall we? Put more subtly, what I mean to say is that convenience (read “lack of movement”) does harm to the cells in your body. When you move, your cells get the oxygen they need to thrive and waste gets removed. The more you move, the more oxygen gets delivered and the more waste gets removed. The less you move, the less oxygen gets delivered and the less waste gets removed. Simple.
This means that the health of your cells (and so the health of all your bodily systems including circulation, bone density, immune system etc) depends on you moving frequently. This does not mean taking up another sport or going to the gym more often, but it does mean being less sedentary during your everyday life. Simple too, right?
Not as simple as you’d think.
The health dangers associated with being sedentary have been known for a long time. They were officially recognised in 1996 when the US Surgeon General’s Report on Physical Activity and Health linked a sedentary lifestyle with heart disease, diabetes, obesity, hypertension, metabolic disease, certain cancers and even premature death!
The problem is that, despite this knowledge, daily life keeps getting more convenient (read more lack of movement) and now it’s soooo much easier to be sedentary most of the time.
Some examples; you might have to search to find the stairs in a public building but the lifts are easy to locate. Backward-sloping chairs stack easier but encourage you to slouch and make it very difficult to sit properly. Lack of footpaths or lighting can make it difficult or dangerous to walk in certain areas. Schools ban skipping/running due to health and safety risk.
Once you realise that your environment may be enabling your lack of movement to some degree, you’ll realise that adding movement to your day will probably take more effort than in years before or, put another more positive way, adding a little bit of “inconvenience” to your life could be a very good thing! After all, the true cost of convenience/not moving is your health. And just how convenient is that?
Ways to add “inconvenience” or movement into your day:
– walk to school/walk
– walk part of the way to school/work
– walk some days to school/work
– get off one bus stop earlier
– stand for part of the way while on the bus or train
– take the stairs instead of the lift
– try to do some errands by foot instead of always taking the car
– park further away from your destination when doing errands
– sit on the floor while watching tv
– don’t fast forward during the ads – use it as a movement reminder to get up and move
– have a picnic on the floor instead of dinner at the tablle
– you can answer your emails standing at the kitchen counter/island or sitting on the floor rather than sitting at the table
– use a balance ball instead of a chair – see here for inspiration
– make your own standing “desk” – see here for inspiration