Yeah yeah, we all know exercise is healthy. So what’s the point of telling me again how healthy it is for me. Well… the point is you probably don’t know the level of exercise you need to avoid being classed as sedentary.
So, first what is a sedentary lifestyle? A sedentary lifestyle is one involving little or no physical activity. Perhaps one filled with a bit too much watching television, playing video games, or using a computer for much of the day.
That’s fine – that’s not me right. I exercise once or twice a week and I walk to the shops. Well Movement coach and well renowned health expert Darryl Edwards who was recently on our podcast explained that ‘to maintain good health you need 150 minutes of moderate intensity, physical activity per week and two days a week of strength training’.
That part blew me away. My two times a week of playing football or going for a run wasn’t enough. I couldn’t believe it and so I went digging and found that it’s right there on the NHS website:
- Aim to be physically active every day.
- Do strengthening activities that work all the major muscles on at least 2 days a week
- Do at least 150 minutes of moderate intensity activity a week
Now be honest! Do you really hit that amount of exercise per week? Two strength sessions at the gym and 2 cardio session for over an hour each. I know I wasn’t, with lockdown and winter – I’d definitely become sedentary with long 10-hour days on the computer and exercise a couple of times a week.
I thought, Ah well, it can’t matter much right. I’m generally healthy and try to keep fit. Well, here’s the clincher which got me to look at myself in a whole different light. The World Health Organization states ‘sedentary lifestyles increase all causes of mortality, double the risk of cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, and obesity, and increase the risks of colon cancer, high blood pressure, osteoporosis, lipid disorders, depression and anxiety.’
Yikes. Basically, your chance of dying from anything goes through the roof and I thought I was healthy and doing enough. Or if you want that the other way around, It's medically proven that people who do regular physical activity have:
- up to a 35% lower risk of coronary heart disease and stroke
- up to a 50% lower risk of type 2 diabetes
- up to a 50% lower risk of colon cancer
- up to a 20% lower risk of breast cancer
- a 30% lower risk of early death
- up to an 83% lower risk of osteoarthritis
- up to a 68% lower risk of hip fracture
- a 30% lower risk of falls (among older adults)
- up to a 30% lower risk of depression
- up to a 30% lower risk of dementia
In short, incredibly powerful. Since the early days of ancient Greece we’ve know the importance of exercise as Plato describes:
“Lack of activity destroys the good condition of every human being, while movement and methodical physical exercise save it and preserve it.”This podcast was a personal wake up call for me and since the episode I have signed up to a gym and I now hit 2 strength sessions a week plus two sessions of cardio. Just this small change in the last month has made a dramatic difference to my energy levels, mood and sleep. It turns out, the more you use your body the more it gives back and I just hope to inspire even one person to make a change like Darryl Edwards managed to change me.