You’ve probably heard about corporate ‘10,000 Step’ challenges and perhaps you’ve wondered why big companies place so much importance on getting their workers away from the desk? The answer is pretty simple, our bodies are designed to move so when we sit for extended periods the health consequences can be very costly to the corporate bottom line, the healthcare budget and the length and quality of our lives.
If you go to the gym at the end of the day obviously there are health benefits, however they won’t cancel out the consequences of hours of uninterrupted sedentary behaviour and a low step count.
In recent decades, numerous studies have reported that generally speaking, individuals walking less than 5,000 steps/day have a substantially higher prevalence of:
than those taking more steps/day.
As Coaches, we are often addressing postural problems, eating behaviours and weight issues that can be traced back to daily inactivity. We encourage our clients to track their daily activity levels for a period and start with ensuring they are taking at least 5,000 steps per day. This might require developing some strategies to guide the development of new healthy habits.
Steps can be accumulated during every day activities such as parking further from the entrance to shops, taking stairs instead of escalators, walking on lunch breaks, standing while on the phone, taking the dog for a daily walk or walking to socialise with friends and family.
The following pedometer indices have been developed to provide a guideline on steps and activity levels:
For people who normally do substantially fewer than 10,000 steps, almost any increase in daily activity will be of benefit. Also, not every step is equal so if you have less time in the day to step then make yours count by increasing intensity. Take the stairs or anything that will get your heart rate up a little and help retain fitness and muscle tone as you age.
Getting up from the desk for some light stretching and moving every half hour is also helpful. You can pop a reminder on your desk, an alarm or stand every time you make a call. If you have the option of a stand up desk it can also have multiple roll on benefits.
The take away message is a lifestyle of convenience may well be a very inconvenient choice in the long term. Small regular habits add up to a transformation and an opportunity to feel, look and be better every day.
Coach Nicky McKimmie