How much movement and what type of movement is essential for a healthy body and spine?
A 2019 study found that “People who did no activity and sat for more than eight hours a day had more than twice (107%) the risk of dying from cardiovascular disease. This was compared to people who did at least one hour of physical activity and sat less than four hours a day (the “optimal group”).” 1.
But it wasn’t enough to sit less. People who did less than 150 minutes of physical activity a week and sat less than four hours a day still had a 44-60% higher risk of dying from cardiovascular disease than the optimal group.
People who sit a lot (more than six hours a day), replacing one hour of sitting with equal amounts of moderate physical activity like strenuous gardening and housework, but not standing, was associated with a 20% reduction in dying from cardiovascular disease.
Stay with me because I’ll share a couple of easy hacks to move more.
The Australian Department of Health recommends
2.5 to 5 hours of moderate-intensity physical activity
1.25 to 2.5 hours of vigorous-intensity physical activity
an equivalent combination of moderate and vigorous activities.
Doing any physical activity is better than doing none. If you do no physical activity right now - this might sound too intense, so start with what you can, then slowly build-up to the recommended amount. 2.
What to do?
Get your steps up!
Track your steps and movement to reach your 10,000 steps. Very easy to do with smartphones and smartwatches - I love my apple watch as I love to close all my rings, and if I don’t get my 10000 steps every day, I go for a pleasant evening stroll. (You can add your family or friends and make a friendly challenge or support group where all of you are working toward the same goal.
Find simple exercises to do
Exercise: Include muscle-strengthening activities as part of your daily physical activity at least two days each week. It can look like:
squats or lunges
household tasks that involve lifting, carrying or digging.
When to do it?
Using dead time:
With everything in life being so FAST, there is less and less time to wait, but when you do, use it to do something, like postural exercises or a stretch—waiting for your kettle to boil, standing at the printer, while you watch your show or news.
PRO TIP: Avoid doing exercises before going to sleep. But you can do gentle meditation or stretches before bedtime instead.
Incidental exercise, think walking fast or cycling part or all of the way to work – or taking stairs are great ways to become or stay active without much extra time.
However, if you are still in pain after all these exercises and cannot move, see a health professional help you get moving because moving better matters.
1. Sitting Time, Physical Activity, and Risk of Mortality in Adults
J Am Coll Cardiol. 2019 Apr, 73 (16) 2062–2072