Monday, September 7, 2020

Being Active

MU Extension
My dad showed me a tweet thread today where a cardiologist has discussed the increasing number of heart conditions that prop up even amongst those who are pretty young, and not too old. The thread talked of various possible factors, one of which was lack of an active life. We are all so busy today that we hardly have any time to move around. How ironic is that! While busy is supposed to be associated with a lot of activity, nowadays it's almost never a physical activity. We sit through the whole day, our eyes glued to the screen in front of us, most of the time in postures so horrid that the body screams for help through backaches at the end of the day.

Some of us do take the time out to make a slot for exercise- maybe running, walking, dancing, hitting the gym, cycling, or whatever. But, that is for a maximum of one hour. One hour of movement and calorie-burning does not compensate in any way for the rest 23 hours of sedentary lifestyle! My mom keeps saying that even if she doesn't exercise regularly, she is still highly active- and that is so true. She is not sitting all day long. I see her walking around in the house, and cooking (you essentially have to stand), and sitting down on the floor, and then up in chairs, and there is some movement every once in a while (unlike me). 

Have you probably wondered how your grandma would not exactly have done an hour of dedicated cardio, but could still be fit and fab at 70? I think that's because they didn't have a sedentary lifestyle. Moving around is important, but also becomes increasingly difficult nowadays. So, what we can do is:

1. Get up to go drink water regularly. (Now, don't skip drinking water just because you have to get up and go).
2. Walk a bit, stretch a bit before and after meals when you get up for them. Please don't have your meals brought to you where you have been sitting all day anyway!
3. Those of us who aren't even sitting, but are laid out all day lazing on the bed- maybe, get a chair and table? Lazing is okay for a day, or even a week, I'll say even a month! But, that may not be the best lifestyle to lead on a long term basis. It can also be a really bad posture. 

My dad was telling me how, in the set up of an office where work demands that you sit in front of your screen and get the job done, water breaks and loo breaks are probably a good time to move a bit, instead of being in the same chair for ten hours every day. We have our constraints in today's world. But, we can do what best can be done. I have seen some office spaces becoming more sensitive to these aspects, and have started allowing an open work space where employees can move around and shift spots as they work through the day. Though this is not very common yet, it is still a good initiative by some!

Even if we can't really move around much, we should at least be aware that we need to. It's not just about I-can't-do-a-desk-job feeling. It's about the actual movement that our body needs. And, I am not just talking about a workout activity at a scheduled time. What we need is to 'be active'. Being aware is a great first step that will help us find our way!

The image is a great pointer on the what makes the basics of being healthy- "lifestyle activities" are extremely important. This is actually a 36- by 24-inch poster by an extension of University of Missouri, designed to help children ages 6 to 11 understand. But I think, we all need it too!
Let's be aware, and be healthy!

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