Move It or Lose It

Move It or Lose It

Move like your life depends on it, because it does! Studies keep coming out to confirm that a sedentary lifestyle leads to health problems and shorter lifespan. What is a sedentary lifestyle?  A sedentary lifestyle is defined as a type of lifestyle where an individual just doesn’t move enough.

Research has linked sitting for long periods of time with a number of health concerns, including obesity and metabolic syndrome-which is a cluster of conditions that includes increased blood pressure, high blood sugar, excess body fat around the waist and abnormal cholesterol levels. Too much sitting also seems to increase the risk of death from cardiovascular disease and cancer.

So why is it that we are more sedentary now that we were just 50 years ago? The main contributing factor to our increased sedentary lifestyle is technology. Technology has brought about more inactive modes of mobility, caused an increase in sedentary desk jobs and has developed more activities that can be done while sitting such as watching TV, surfing the web, playing video games, etc.

A sedentary lifestyle is also dangerous for seniors and older adults. Thanks to the electronic age, seniors are also spending less time being active and more time sitting in front of the TV and computer screens. Whether it be shopping or paying bills online, or catching up with friends and family via social media, our increased lack of movement is causing havoc on our bodies.

Although that is a great start, the solution isn’t as easy as hitting the gym or walking a few hours a week. It seems that less sitting and more movement in your overall day may be the best answer. If you find yourself spending too much of your day off your feet, make some changes to help you get out of your seat more often. For example:

  • Stand while talking on the phone or eating lunch
  • Stand while you read
  • Shop at the mall instead of online
  • Get up and walk during TV commercials
  • When you’re out running errands, park further back in the parking lot
  • If you work from a desk, get up to do nearby tasks or walk to visit with a coworker instead of calling or emailing them. There aren’t specific guidelines per say, but studies suggest getting up to move about every hour.
  • Use a pedometer to help you realize how much you are moving in a day and how you can top that number. The Heart and Stroke Foundation recommends 5000-8500 steps each day for adults 55-75. 

Many fitness centers in Lincoln, including the Legacy Retirement Communities’ gyms, offer 24 hours a day, 7 days a week access to their cardio and strength training equipment, so not having the time is no longer a good excuse.  Make the time and do it for/commit to your own health.

Katie Johnson is a certified personal trainer with her Bachelors of Arts in Exercise Science and the Wellness Director for Legacy Retirement Communities.