How to become more active and how much to move to be healthy

Doctors and gymnasts advise moving more – especially for those who work sitting down. At the same time, it is not always clear how to become more active., – It is worth registering urgently for training or as long as you just walk more. We understood it together with the experts of the online fitness school for moms #Sektamama.

Why is it important for a person to move?

Before the invention of agriculture, people had to hunt and gather for food – it is not surprising that our ancestors were much more physically active than we are. Thus, a study by scientists from the University of Cambridge and the University of Pennsylvania shows that today human skeletons are lighter and more fragile than those of our ancestors.

According to the researchers, after people stopped hunting for food and switched to agriculture, nomadism was replaced by a sedentary lifestyle. The need for active movement gradually disappeared. The modern world seems to be reducing human activity with all its might: sofas and chairs, cars and vehicles, control panels and automation of many daily tasks have appeared. As a result, more people are sitting or lying down today than ever before.

The results of a low level of activity are so impressive that the medical community calls the sedentary lifestyle “the new smoking”. Studies show that people who lead a sedentary lifestyle are more likely to be overweight and have cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, lower quality of life and cognitive impairment.

What is it like to be physically active?

To get the benefits of exercise, you need to follow at least the minimum recommendations of doctors. At the same time, the terms “physical activity” and “training” are not the same thing.

Physical activity is any movement of the body that increases energy expenditure relative to the original value. Even brushing your teeth!

Training is a planned, structured, repetitive and deliberate physical activity, the purpose of which is to maintain and improve physical properties.

Workout is always a physical activity, but not all physical activity is workout. At the same time, you can be active and not exercise, but have a mobile job, do daily activities or walk.

How and how much do you need to move in the end?

The World Health Organization recommends 150-300 minutes of moderate aerobic activity per week or 75-150 minutes of intense activity for adults under 64 years of age. You can combine them. For example, in a week you can do two intense walks for 40 minutes, do two 20-minute workouts and dance for half an hour.

In addition to aerobic activity, it is recommended to engage in power loads at least twice a week. They allow you to maintain muscle mass and strengthen bones, which facilitates any daily movement.

At the same time, it is important, first of all, to sit and lie down less. If you replace the rest on the couch with activity of any intensity, even light, it will positively affect your health.

It is recommended that seniors spend extra time on balance exercises. With age, the musculoskeletal system begins to function differently: the joints become less flexible, coordination and balance deteriorate.

And if you just include more exercise in your daily routine, will your health improve?

It is not always. A team of scientists from the Mayo Clinic conducted a study with residents of urban and rural areas in Jamaica and North America. It turned out that even including training in the program, an office worker can sit up to 15 hours a day. For comparison: for farm dwellers, this time was only three hours.

Lifestyle has a significant impact on health. Even if a person exercises sometimes, but moves little the rest of the time, his or her well-being deteriorates – these are the findings of a 2015 study review.

What will help you become more active?

You do not need to go to the gym or run marathons in the morning to get enough exercise. Just start with small changes in daily habits. Here are some ideas on how to become more physically active.

Set a break reminder

Sometimes work can really be delayed. Put an alarm clock on your phone to take a break every 30 minutes: get up and go to the bathroom, get some water from the kitchen or just stand at your desk and stretch for three to four minutes.

Walk while talking on the phone

It does not matter if you receive a personal call at work or call your mom on Saturday: get up and walk around the room, stretch your muscles. And you can also go outside, adding more traffic and fresh air.

Have dinner outside

Weather permitting walking, order lunch somewhere near the desk and then pick it up. Even if you bring lunch from home, you can take it with you to the nearest park or other open space to soak up the sun and take extra steps.

Offer “walking” meetings

Do you want to chat with a colleague or meet a friend? Ask if they would like to take a walk and talk on the go.

Get in the habit of wiping your desk and sorting papers every day.

Workplaces can fill up and disorganize very quickly. But cleaning can be an excuse to stretch a little: get up and throw away old sheets of paper and food wrappers and wipe your desk and keyboard.

Park away

If you feel full of energy and motivation to go to work or the grocery store, park as far as possible from your destination, so that you have more time for walking. If you use public transport, you can get off one or two stops earlier and walk the rest of the way.

Take the elevator and go up the stairs

When the excitement overflows and there is no heavy load on the hands, you can take the stairs instead of calling the elevator. Especially if there are only a few floors up front.

Use waiting time wisely

While waiting for food from the microwave or paper from the printer, get up and do light stretching. For example, stretch your back: stretch your arms up as you inhale and forward as you exhale. Tilt your head in different directions and then your whole body.

Dance while doing housework

Dancing can make everyday tasks such as vacuuming or washing dishes much more fun. Different tasks involve different muscles in the body and consume a lot of energy. You do not have to strive for balanced movements: just turn on your favorite music and try to move to its beat.

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