Many of us spend a good chunk of the day sitting. At work, you’re expected to stay in your seat and focus on the task at hand. Sure, you’re allowed to take a few breaks throughout the day, but only for a few minutes at a time. Then after work, you might sit in front of the TV while you eat your dinner, and before you know it, it’s time for bed. And the cycle repeats the next day. Even if you manage to fit some exercise into your daily routine, it may not be enough to counteract the effects of not moving for the day.
Living a sedentary lifestyle can lead to all sorts of health issues. Increased risk for obesity, type 2 diabetes, and heart disease are only a few of the potential problems caused by being physically inactive. Both children and adults can face these problems.
How to help your kids get more active
Although children do have one or two breaks during the school day, most of the day they sit at their desks. Therefore, parents must ensure that their children eat a relatively healthy diet and stay physically active to combat weight gain, high blood pressure, and other health issues down the line – a difficult challenge, especially due to the prevalence of junk food in Western society. For starters, avoid buying snack foods with lots of salt or sugar. Do not have sugary drinks in the house; instead, get your kids to drink water or skim milk.
In addition, parents should encourage their kids to join extracurricular activities like sports and urge them to play outside with their friends instead of staying inside and playing video games. An active lifestyle combined with a good diet can ensure that your kids stay happy and healthy and excel in school.
How to get more active–for adults
At work, get up from your desk every 30 minutes and take a break. Do some stretches and, if you can, go outside for a bit. If smokers get regular smoke breaks, there’s no reason that you shouldn’t be allowed a 5-minute break to get some fresh air and stretch your legs.
If you usually drive to work, consider walking or cycling part of the way. Or take public transportation–it saves you money, and you’ll be able to walk to and from the bus stop. If you insist on driving, park your car a few minutes further away from work and walk the rest of the way. Every bit of exercise counts.
At home, instead of sitting on the couch to watch TV, stand up and move around for a bit, or do other tasks while watching your program. If you’re talking on the phone, walk around your house at the same time. You can even do a few stretches while you watch or talk.
Written by Natan Rosenfeld