Fitness, Health & Wellbeing

Active Nation Day – this Sunday: 29 September 2013

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Lorna Jane, one of my favourite people, has created Australia’s “Active Nation Day” and I am excited to be involved and supporting Lorna with this.

Our body was not created to be dormant! We are not created to sit and lead sedentary lifestyles – in fact, the opposite is the truth. Movement oxygenates the cells and the risks of not moving, of being sedentary are great. Here are just a few:

Health Risks of a Sedentary Lifestyle

Heart Disease: Heart Disease is the leading cause of death and disability for people in the US. People who are overweight are twice as likely to have high blood pressure and cholesterol, two of the major risk factors causing heart disease. Those who have heart disease may suffer a heart attack, congestive heart failure, sudden cardiac death or abnormal heart rhythm.

Cancer: Cancer is defined by an abnormal or out of control growth of cells within a part of your body, which can then spread to surrounding tissues. Being overweight increases the risk of several types of cancers including: colon, esophagus, and kidney. Also, obesity has been linked with uterine and postmenopausal breast cancer in women.

Stroke: Similar to heart disease, a stroke prevents blood and oxygen to the brain possibly causing paralysis and death. Major risk factors that contribute to stroke susceptibility are: high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, tobacco and alcohol use, obesity and genetic predisposition. Stroke is the third leading cause of death in the US.

Type 2 Diabetes: Type 2 diabetes reduces your body’s ability to control blood sugar. Diabetes is a major cause of early death, heart disease, and blindness. Diabetes and obesity have strong ties. Those who are overweight are more than twice as likely to develop diabetes, while 80 percent of those who have diabetes are overweight.

High Blood Pressure: The most recent estimates note that nearly one third of all adult Americans have high blood pressure. It often times goes undetected and, when is uncontrolled, contributes to heart attacks, strokes, heart and kidney failures.

Bone disease is also another risk for people who have sedentary lifestyles.

Now if that little short list doesn’t get you moving, nothing will….

How to Reduce Your Risk:

It has been said many times before, Diet and Exercise – shake that booty:
You can reduce your risk of developing these medical conditions by changing your lifestyle to include a well-rounded diet and regular, moderate physical activity. In most cases, the loss of 5 to 15 percent of your body weight significantly reduces your risks of developing these medical conditions. Becoming more active and eating healthy is taking charge of your own health. I always say: “Health happens by choice, not by accident” and “Wellness is a total package: Mental, Physical and Spiritual”.

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In an article by the Sydney Morning Herald in May this year, Sarah Berry (Life & Style Reporter) went so far as to say that “Sitting is the new smoking”

I loved this article and wanted to share it with you in the hope of getting your rear into gear to make a positive change for yourself. So why not make a start this Sunday and commit to being active long-term from this Sunday, (or even today if you want) Active Nation Day.

Here’s the article:

Don’t fall off your perch, but sitting is the new smoking and your chair is out to kill you. No, really. This is the sorry state of affairs thanks to our increasingly seated existence, said doctors in an LA Times feature published earlier this week.

As evidence, the doctors pointed out various studies, including this Australian one from last year which found that every hour of (seated) TV watching we do, cuts about 22 minutes from our life span. That was contrasted with this study, which estimated that smokers shorten their lives by about 11 minutes per cigarette.
Seated smokers beware!

But, it’s not just longevity that is affected by our idle ways.
We spend as much as 80 per cent of our working day sedentary and unsurprisingly a similar percentage of Australians experience back pain. Being sedentary is also putting the ‘sit’ in obesity, as our fat burning furnaces essentially switch off when we’re stationary for extended periods. Some research even suggests that it leads to the dreaded middle age spread by the mechanical pressure sitting puts on our fat cells.

“Sitting may have more to do with obesity than [lack of] physical activity,” says Professor Adrian Bauman of Sydney University’s School of Public Health.
“It is almost like sort of owning a really cool sports car and letting it idle all day long,” James Levine, an obesity expert from the Mayo Clinic, recently told NBC News. “The engine gets gunked up. That’s what happens to our bodies. The body, as we know, simply isn’t built to sit all day.”

Rather, back in the good ol’ days we were out doing what our bodies were made for; foraging for food, performing various other physical tasks and spending our time in the fresh air and sunshine.
“We had no concept of this as ‘exercise’ or ‘working out.’ It was just life,” says author of Personal Paleo Code Chris Kresser.

Many of us try to counteract the complications of being strangely seated all day by doing some star jumps (or whatever) in the morning or evening. But important as any exercise is, short sharp bursts don’t necessarily offset the imbalance.
“Going for a run or walking the dog doesn’t counter [inactivity],” Bauman says. “It’s about total energy expenditure across the whole day.”


This is the conclusion Levine has come to as well.
“A few years ago, I would have actually said to you, you know, the person who’s doing that session at the gym once a day is doing everything they need to do. But the data that are now coming up suggests that’s not the case, “ he said.
“Being sedentary for nine hours a day at the office is bad for your health whether you go home and watch television afterwards or hit the gym. It is bad whether you are morbidly obese or marathon-runner thin. It appears that what is critical and maybe even more important than going to the gym, is breaking up that sitting time.”

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