Move more, live longer?
Self-care is a preventive medicine approach that you should consider for ensuring your health in the long run. It’s like the oxygen mask mentality: you have to take care of yourself before you can take care of other people. Do you want to be and feel at your best? Then you need to put yourself first physically, mentally and emotionally speaking. It doesn't make you selfish, it makes you strong.
Physical activity is essential to prevent and reduce risks of many diseases and improve physical and mental health. Unfortunately, even today not many people realize the importance of these facts. The average office worker sits for about 10 hours, all those hours in front of the computer plowing through e-mails, making calls or writing proposals — and eating lunch. Plus all those hours of sitting in front of the TV or surfing the web at home. The health consequences of sedentariness are well documented. Past studies by Swedish scientists have found that the more hours that people spend sitting, the more likely they are about to develop diabetes, heart disease or other conditions, and potentially die prematurely — even if they exercise regularly.
You’re a healthcare provider; you probably already know how genes are composed. But for those of you that might not know this, let’s get down to the science. Inside the nucleus of a cell, our genes are arranged along twisted, double-stranded molecules of DNA called chromosomes. At the ends of the chromosomes are stretches of DNA called telomeres, which protect our genetic data, make it possible for cells to divide, and hold some secrets to how we age and get cancer. Telomeres shorten and fray as cell ages, although the process is not strictly chronological. Obesity, illness and other conditions can accelerate this shortening, causing cells to age prematurely — while some evidence suggests that healthy lifestyles may preserve telomere length, delaying cell aging.
According to these findings the British Journal of Sports Medicine, suggests for people to begin to stand, move and take breaks for at least two out of eight hours at work. Then, gradually work up to spend at least half of your eight-hour workday in what researchers call these “light-intensity activities.“ James Levine, an obesity expert at the Mayo Clinic and author of the book, “Stand Up,” said less sitting and more moving overall is a good start. In his work, he found that the reason why some people who seem to never work out, yet never put on weight, is because they’re standing, walking and moving more throughout the day, rather than sitting for hours on end.
The key to feeling good is to decide to stop feeling bad. Here are a couple of suggestions that will help you achieve a more active lifestyle:
- Kick off your week with a little exercise! Walk, jog or run, jump-start with a healthy dose of physical activity and enjoy the positive health benefits while socializing with others.
- Take part in an exercise program at work or a nearby gym.
- Take a class in martial arts, dance, or yoga. Will not only help you improve your physical health but both your mood and mental agility.
- Get off the bus or subway one stop early and walk the rest of the way.
- Replace a coffee break with a brisk 10-minute walk. Ask a friend to go with you.
- Stand while talking on the phone or eating lunch.
- Walk laps with your colleagues rather than gathering in a conference room for meetings.
- If you work at a desk for long periods of time, try a standing desk — or improvise with a high table or counter.
- Take a nature walk and have fun while being active!
Remember that self-care is not optional, it's essential, and the impact of movement can be profound. For starters, you'll burn more calories, which might lead to weight loss and increased energy. Even better, the muscle activities needed for standing and other movements are known to trigger important processes related to the breakdown of fats and sugars within the body. Give it a try! And give yourself the gift of mobility through practicing any of the suggested activities to avoid a sedentary lifestyle.