Tuesday, 23 August 2011

Exercise or Illness?

One of the most common excuses I hear from people who don’t exercise is that they don’t have time to exercise. I realise that it is hard to dedicate an hour a day to formal exercise; however, it is essential to keep active on a daily basis in order to maintain a healthy body and mind, especially if you are stuck behind a desk all day.

It is recommended that you do at least 150 minutes of aerobic exercise per week, or about 30 minutes per day. This does not necessarily have to be spent sweating it out at the gym, but rather, it can be accumulated throughout the day. It is important to remember that the benefits of exercise are cumulative. This means that whether you do three 10-minute bouts of exercise throughout the day, or one 30-minute bout of exercise, the benefits are the same. But, in order to benefit from the exercise bout, your heart rate does need to increase, which means that a concerted effort does need to be made. Ideally, you want to exercise at least 3-5 times per week, for a minimum of 45-60 minutes. This does, however, depend on what your exercise goals are.

Having said that, a little bit is better than nothing. So, on the really hectic days when you simply cannot get to the gym to do an hour of formal exercise, here are some suggestions to get you active at work:
·         Go for a walk around the building as many times as possible during your lunch break – take a colleague to keep you company.
·         Always take the stairs instead of the lift.
·         Make sure you get up from your desk every hour and walk around a bit.
·         Fetch your own glass of water from the kitchen every hour; don’t have it brought to you.
·         Design your office so that you are forced to get up every now and then, for example, put your printer where you can’t reach it.
·         Walk to your colleagues offices instead of phoning them.
·         Choose simple exercises that you can do in your office, for example, stand up and sit down 10 times each hour.

At the practice where I work, we have a saying: “He who has no time for exercise must create time for illness!” I hope that you will think about this carefully and change now before it’s too late. Exercise is the best form of preventative medicine and it’s freely available to everyone! But, if you have not been active on a regular basis, please get medical clearance from your doctor before starting an exercise programme and consider starting under the supervision of a biokineticist.

Good luck and remember to keep moving! J

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