Guidelines encourage us to get off our backsides and get moving

Many of us drive to work, or sit on the bus or train, only to find ourselves deskbound for 8 hours or more, even eating at our desks, and then we watch TV or tend to our social media to relax in the evening. This all adds up to hours of sedentary behaviour. For the first time, we are being told to ‘sit less’ in addition to being physically active in the new Physical Activity and Sedentary Behaviour Guidelines recently released by the Department of Health.

The Guidelines are supported by a rigorous evidence review process that considered the relationship between physical activity and that of sedentary behaviour with health outcomes, like risk of chronic disease and obesity. It seems the adverse effects of sitting for prolonged periods over time is associated with poorer health outcomes, and that these effects are apparent even in those who meet their recommended levels of activity. The Sedentary Behaviour Guidelines encourage that we minimise the amount of time spent sitting and break up long periods of sitting as often as possible by:

  • Setting hourly alarms on our TV or computer to remind you to get up and move
  • Getting up to change the channel on the TV instead of using the remote
  • Standing up and moving while watching TV or reading
  • Walking around when chatting on the phone
  • Standing on public transport and getting off one stop earlier than our destination
  • Walking at lunch instead of eating at our desk

Physical activity reduces the risk of health problems including heart disease, diabetes, anxiety, depression, some cancers and weight gain. The new guidelines stress that doing any activity is better than doing none at all, and that increasing amounts of activity provide even greater health benefits. They encourage those who are not currently active to start slowly and gradually build up to the recommended amount.

Sounds like we all need to get off our backsides, reduce our sit time and aim to be active on most, if not all, days of the week.

So just how much is recommended?

To reap considerable health benefits, including reduced risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes and musculoskeletal problems, we should:

  • accumulate at least 150 minutes of moderate intensity (or 75 minutes of vigorous intensity) activity each week.

For even greater health benefits, like preventing weight gain and some cancers, we need to:

  • double this target to 300 minutes (5 hours) of moderate intensity or 150 minutes of vigorous intensity activity every week.

What’s more, we are advised to include muscle strengthening activities, like resistance training, on at least 2 days each week.

Sounds like we all need to get off our backsides, reduce our sit time and aim to be active on most, if not all, days of the week. Here at Appetite we have committed to:

  • Getting up every hour to move or stretch
  • Try walking or standing meetings
  • Head out at lunch time to enjoy a short walk and fresh air
  • Squat while waiting for the kettle to boil

What are you going to do? We’d love to hear your ideas.

Guidelines are also specified for children 0-5 years and 5-12 years, youths 13-17 years and for older Australians (64+). For more information  click here
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