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WHY SHOULD WE BE MORE ACTIVE?
Being active is something you always hear about and frankly sometimes, our daily health and activity get overlooked. Our society today is one that is attached to media and technology which tends to leave us sedentary due to long hours spent in front of a screen during the workday. Most people may have spent their younger years living an active lifestyle but as life and responsibilities consume their time, one of the first areas people generally cut out is physical exercise. If you sit most of the day, you will notice your legs getting tight, your back and neck starting to ache and after a few years of this, physical problems can occur -- this is something we can all agree we want to avoid.
SO, WHAT SHOULD WE DO ABOUT IT?
It’s simple: our society needs to be more active. Get up and move. Here are some helpful steps you can take to improve your overall health at work, at home and in your free time.
Adjust your workstation to improve posture and limit slouching and long periods of time without movement. We often tell patients to set a timer on their computer to get up and move around the office. Movement and exercise stimulate blood flow throughout the body which actually leads to a brief period of hyperoxygenation in the brain. This can increase both energy and attentiveness and could leave you feeling more productive. Some would say that's a win/win!
Prioritize some exercise into your weekly routine. Some may go to the gym while others may want to work out at home. It does not matter which one you choose as long as you are doing something and being consistent. A good total body program that includes cardio, stretching, core, and general strength training is important. Picking exercises that you will continue and enjoy might be the first type of workout to try.
For example, if you like to be outside, you can join a group that walks or jogs or cycles in the community. Having a group to work out with will improve your accountability and consistency. In the summer, the pool can offer a great place for exercise to add to your routine. Consistent exercises over a long period of time will prevent injury and improve total body health and quality of life.
Get back into a routine is to change some eating habits. Many choose to eat a small breakfast or just have coffee and work five or six hours before a medium-size lunch and a large dinner. This should be reversed. Breakfast should be the larger meal in the morning to provide enough nutrients to fuel the body, then a medium-size lunch and smaller dinner. Healthy snacks throughout the day and cutting out fast food and fried food are helpful as well. If eating habits are a struggle to change, an appointment with a nutritionist would be beneficial.
James Wood, LAT, ATC, CSCS, CKTP is a Certified & Licensed Athletic Trainer and Certified Strength & Conditioning Specialist.
This article was originally published on June 11, 2015, and has been updated on February 10, 2020.