Wellness Wednesday: Move More, Avoid Sitting Sickness, and Live Longer


A growing body of research points to the impact of modest levels of physical activity on mortality later in life

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The amount of sand accumulated at the main entrance is a sure sign of spring in our house.

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Sand being tracked around the house by three children and an adventurous Goldendoodle indicates warmer days ahead and more time spent outside walking, biking or playing. We could all pull a page from the childhood book. Do you remember being called inside and told to wash up before dinner or that it was time for a bath?

Now we have health promotion days that remind us to get moving, like National Walk Day, which is now established by the American Heart Association to encourage a healthy lifestyle. Thirty minutes of walking a day has huge benefits for our physical and mental health, from increasing bone strength to helping with weight loss, reducing stress and improving sleep. .

We all know the importance of getting the recommended 150 minutes of moderate to vigorous aerobic physical activity per week. But a growing body of research points to the impact of modest levels of physical activity on mortality later in life. Essentially, moving more and taking more steps per day helps reduce the risk of premature death.

Not just today, but try to get into the habit of parking farther away from the entrance to your workplace or grocery store, maybe even consider walking (or biking) there. Take the stairs instead of the elevator. We have so many wonderful hiking trails and parks in our backyard. So why not try a walking meeting the next time you need to get together with your team to collaborate, chat or plan?

A sedentary lifestyle is detrimental to human health, so much so that the scientific community has dubbed it “sitting disease”.

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Thanks to modern technology and advancements, many of us spend our working day at a desk. Global studies show that we sit for about eight hours a day on average, and some people can sit for up to 14 hours a day. Spending 20 minutes in any fixed position begins to inhibit metabolism. And sitting for long periods is associated with the worst health outcomes, including heart disease, type 2 diabetes and cancer. There’s even an online “sitting time calculator” by JustStand.org that can help you gauge the time spent sitting and learn ways to reduce it. Because even if we get our recommended 150 minutes of exercise, what we do the rest of the day matters.

The goal of 10,000 steps per day has become the gold standard of health for many people. However, this reference came from a marketing campaign rather than from scientific evidence. Apparently, the idea that 10,000 steps per day of activity is ideal for health dates back to 1965, when a Japanese company made a step-tracking device called Manpo-kei, which translates to “10,000 step counter.” not “.

A meta-analysis of 15 studies investigating the 10,000 steps a day health claim was published last month in Lancet Public Health. The study involved nearly 50,000 people from four continents and offers new insights into identifying the number of daily walking steps that will optimally improve adult health and longevity – and whether the number of steps is different for adults. people of different ages.

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According to the data, for adults 60 and older, the risk of premature death has stabilized at around 6,000 to 8,000 steps per day. This means that more than this range provided no additional longevity benefits. Additionally, adults under 60 saw the risk of premature death stabilize at around 8,000 to 10,000 steps per day.

The research supports and expands on the findings of another study published last September in JAMA Network Open, which found that walking at least 7,000 steps a day reduced the risk of premature death in middle-aged people.

Accumulating research points to the need to incorporate more movement into our day. COVID has altered movement behavior, leading to increased screen time and lower levels of physical activity.

It’s time to hang up the phone and get out.

I write that last sentence and look at the clock and realize I’ve been sitting longer than I probably should have.

Laura Stradiotto is a registered health and nutrition coach, mother of three, and writer in Sudbury. She works as a nutrition coach and content developer at Med-I-Well Services, a multidisciplinary team of healthcare professionals who work with companies to build a healthier, more productive workforce. Wellness Wednesday is a monthly column published in the Sudbury Star. To get in touch with Laura, email [email protected]

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