Is being more active the key to a long life?

How active you are on a daily basis and could you be more active?  I’m not talking about how many hours you spend at the gym or running for miles on end but just how active you are and how much you actually move during the course of a day. 

You may be interested to learn that results from a 2014/15 study carried out over 12 years by the University of Cambridge concluded that more deaths per year are caused by inactivity than by those carrying too much body weight.  The study group was almost half a million people.

Government guidelines on exercise for the general population is that we should all be taking 150 minutes of physical exercise every week, which boils down to a manageable (just over) 20 minutes brisk walking per day and can actually increase our life expectancy. In days gone by building physical activity into our lives was not a problem.  A vast proportion of people had physically demanding jobs and work in the home was also harder than it is now, without labour saving devices……I remember sitting on the kitchen worktop watching my mum using the twin tub to do the washing.

Cars were less affordable and I remember throughout my childhood walking a good couple of miles there and back to school.  So what has actually changed?  Have we become lazy as a nation or just busier with increasing demands on our time? This statement is open for debate but one thing that definitely has not changed is our genetic makeup.  We were designed to move. 

If you are physically able to do so and don’t move as much as you should start making simple changes in your daily life to build in movement.  How many people spend hours on the computer or watching television during the evening and then say they do not have time to exercise?  Walk to work, get off the bus a stop early or take the stairs instead of the lift.  If you get an hour for lunch go for a walk, even if it’s only for 10 minutes; if you work 5 days a week that’s almost an hour of exercise without thinking too hard about it.

If you are largely inactive but maintain a healthy weight you may think that this doesn’t apply to your life but actually the diseases caused by inactivity and obesity are the same in the main, such as cardiovascular disease.

The bottom line is it doesn’t matter what clothes size you wear, changing your lifestyle to incorporate more movement on a daily basis is good news for the health of your heart, it does great things for your general health and increases your life expectancy. 

I will leave you with one thought…….one of my grandmothers lived to the age of 101, she never had a special diet and never took part in any formal exercise regime but she walked everywhere.  Her longevity is a fabulous example of simply moving more.

Your health is your wealth.

Leigh x