“Everything that gets worse when we get older, gets better when we exercise,” said Dr I-Min Lee of Harvard Medical School in an interview with the BBC.
If you are alive, then you are moving.
Life is movement, and maybe movement is what being alive is all about. Notice that I talk about movement, not exercise.
The Oxford Dictionary describes exercise as ‘Activity requiring physical effort, carried out to sustain or improve health and fitness.’ Exercise is a deliberate activity and something many believe has to be hard work to be effective. Indeed, somewhere in our recent history we have started talking about the need to ‘workout’ in order to be healthy.
Is this view adding to our lack of movement?
There is no denying it, we move less than our parents and grandparents did.
Our lifestyles are increasingly focused around prolonged periods of sitting on our backsides. Whether at home, at work, in our cars or out socialising, we now live in a world that requires very little physical activity.
Over the last century much of our environment has been re-engineered to reduce the need for us to move. The majority of manual tasks are now undertaken by machines or with the aid of labour saving devices. This shift has taken us from living physically demanding lives to suddenly moving less than we ever have during the entire human evolution.
According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), approximately 7 out of 10 people in the world now lead sedentary lifestyles.
WHO says it is “one of the more serious yet insufficiently addressed public health problems of our time”.
A 2012 report in The Lancet medical journal estimated that a lack of physical activity is causing 5.3m deaths a year across the world – about the same number as smoking.
If movement is beneficial to health, how can you start doing more of it?
The NHS says “if exercise were a pill, it would be one of the most cost-effective drugs ever invented.”
There are 2 types of movement we need in order to stay healthy or to our improve health – aerobic and strength.
You don’t need any fancy equipment to do either or these and can easily get started at home.
Going for a run or a fast walk is a great way to increase your aerobic movement, as can dancing, skipping, cycling or bouncing on a trampoline; and simple body weight exercises can help you to build your strength.
I personally feel that movement should be functional and help to increase the things your body can do and not focus solely on how the body looks. Looks and health are NOT the same thing.
Want to start getting more active?
The NHS has some great starter plans to help you. Take a look at:
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