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By Chris Tomkinson Founder at GoVida - The Employee Wellbeing Platform

“Use it or Lose it”

What would the people of the past think of today’s modern lifestyle and sedentary working practices?

Although we are blessed with innumerable home comforts, infinite sources of entertainment and supermarkets filled with food – how would they view our many deskbound vocations where we can be stuck in a seat for 8 hours plus each day? Where we have replaced walking for driving and outdoor recreation for indoor digital play.

What is the effect of a lack of movement day after day after day?

The Department of Health has called the lack of physical activity a “silent killer” and inactivity is now the fourth leading risk factor for premature death worldwide.

Internally we see increases in blood pressure and insulin levels leading to type 2 diabetes, mental health deterioration and increases in depression, increases in heart disease, obesity and certain cancers.

We also see debilitating musculoskeletal issues such as “Tech Neck”, “Mouse Shoulder” and my personal favourite “Accountants’ A***”

This chronic lack of movement means we begin to lose the ability to move and with it reduce the quality of our lives and independence.

What’s the solution?

We need to start moving more and build it into a daily habit.

Tips to increase your daily movement:

Track your steps

Wearables and smart phones provide daily steps data.

According to the American Council on Exercise, people who track their steps take an average of 2,500 more steps per day than those who don’t.

Smart Watch

“10,000 steps” has become an arbitrary number that has stuck as a benchmark target. Its apparent origin came from a 1960s Japanese marketing campaign for a pedometer rather than a basis in scientific evidence.

To achieve any goal and create a habit it has to be realistic and sustainable and for many 10,000 steps per day is too high. I set myself a daily minimum target of 5,000 steps per day. This is achievable even in the most sedentary of jobs and gives a platform to improve from.

Find an activity you enjoy

14.6% of UK adults are now members of gyms – an all-time high saturation rate. However, that means 85% of UK adults are not members, so what are the alternatives?

Find an activity or activities you enjoy and commit to doing them at least twice per week. Whether it be playing table tennis, dancing, rock climbing, gardening there are groups and facilities that cater for all tastes readily available.

You don’t have to spend hours doing them either – a good quality, purposeful 30 minutes is much better than a prolonged hour where interest wanes and the enjoyment fades.

Remember – keeping physically active doesn’t need to be a chore and it will improve your quality of life and wellbeing. 

Small changes such as increasing your steps activity throughout the day can make a significant difference in maintaining and increasing your mobility.

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