Over the past three years I, like everybody else, have conducted much of my business from home. I have seen clients virtually more so than ever and I have been presented with the same challenges by my clients as face us all.
While they may not have consciously been aware of its effects, my weight-loss clients of recent years, face the sitting challenge more than ever in their life to-date.
If you work for an organisation that facilitated your working from home everyday then you found yourself sitting stock-still at a laptop for hours on end, more than you had ever done before.
Unwittingly, your body became stationary. The coffee breaks with colleagues, strolls across a factory-floor, trips to the water font all went away! You had coffee at your desk, kitchen table or sofa. You chatted to colleagues on-line or by phone and you worked more productively than ever in total and absolute stillness!
While this may look a little exaggerated here, it is a trend I have seen more often than not in the past few years.
Sitting is the new smoking!
You know that smoking kills. You are too logical a person to actually smoke. If you did smoke you have given up. This you know. This you did. It took discipline, support, the forming of new habits.
Now you are sitting all day. This too can shorten your life.
Within a fortnight of becoming sedentary, to the degree I described above, your weight can become impacted. Fat deposits may accumulate around your mid-section, in particular, the longer you sit. Your lipid profile may change & this may impact on your cholesterol levels. These are all parameters that, post-menopause, we need to be hyper vigilante about. Pre-menopause, Oestrogen is considered to be cardio-protective, so our bloods tend to be good. This can all change, over the first few years post-menopause. As oestrogen levels drop, risk of adverse heart-health issues rises.
Sedentary life-styles compound these risks.
So what is our baseline here?
Move. Move. Move.
Accumulate ten thousand steps over the course of your day. EVERY DAY! Seven days per week – no exceptions.
You are busy. There aren’t enough hours in the day to get a one-hour walk in (which might average 9k steps, plus or minus, depending on your speed, leg-length, fitness!). I tend to agree. For most clients I see I suggest an end-point of a 45 minute walk per day, but realistically, often begin them at 15mins twice per day (often around the building at work). We need a minimum-standard approach here.
Once you establish this routine (three weeks of total consistency should do it) you find yourself in a better place to try new things; look to expand the time you spend in conscious movement and actually enjoy it. There is no going back from here!
What I am talking about here, in the 10k step goal, is physical activity. There needs be no lycra involved in physical activity! This is the stuff of movement. Of course, you can don as much lycra as you wish and go to a gym, a pool or a class, but this is entirely optional, in the attainment of your 10k steps.
As movement becomes your norm & something you embrace, then a focus on fitness becomes the obvious next step. The ideal that we need to aim for is 150minutes per week of more moderate-intensity exercise (30minutes x 5 days for example), where two days your focus is on strength-building (that is to say, weight-bearing exercise).
Understand though, that you do not need to aim to lift-weights and become ripped in order to be fit. Fitness and strength can be achieved in a multitude of ways.
Let such recommendations sink in. Don’t let them get in your way. There is still no requirement for lycra here! Your options are endless. Sometimes they are right in front of you!!
Moderate exercise looks like the following:
· Vacuuming the house & stairs (weight-bearing)
· Cleaning showers, mopping floors, cleaning windows
· A brisk walk (weight-bearing)
· A swim
· General yard work (weight-bearing)
· Cycling (at less than 10mph)
· Doubles Tennis (weight-bearing)
· Power Yoga (weight-bearing)
· Dancing (weight-bearing)
· Exercise Classes (aqua aerobic, fitness)
Build the above into some part of every day. You don’t even need to leave home for many of them. They are right there in front of you, waiting to be embraced, rather than dreaded. The bonus will be a fitter, healthier you and possibly a cleaner home & yard as a bonus!!