Moving more converts to better fitness
Thursday, 17 June 2021
According to the 2017-18 National Health Survey, 67% of adults were considered overweight or obese. Only a small number of Australians met the physical activity guidelines, including 1.9% of 15-17 year olds, 15% of 18-64 year olds and 17.2% of people over the age of 65.
We know that physical inactivity can lead to many chronic health conditions including type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease. It’s important to make a conscious effort to move more and sit less.
Break up prolonged periods of sitting
The National Physical Activity Guidelines recommend that all Australian adults do at least 30 minutes of moderate intensity exercise on most days of the week, as well as two strengthening sessions each week. It’s also important to maximise opportunities for increased incidental activity across the day, to break up prolonged periods of sitting.
Extra movement throughout the day allows you to change position regularly, increase overall mobility and function, burn energy and facilitate circulation.
So how can we increase our incidental activity?
Smaller, more frequent bouts
The good news is you don’t need to put aside a large chunk of time. The smaller, more frequent bouts of activity often lead to the more manageable and sustainable movement patterns.
A good way to approach this is to practise a RAMP Plan, which stands for Reminder Active Movement Praise.
You might like to think of it as “habit stacking”.
Add to your habits
It involves you pairing an existing habit (the reminder) with an incidental activity (active movement). For example, while you’re waiting for the kettle to boil or your toast to cook, you could complete some wall push ups, calf raises or stretches.
Alternatively, you could stand up and move around during the ad breaks of your favourite television program. Remember to also celebrate the wins (praise) with increased movement, which could include, for example, adding money to your holiday fund.
Other ways to move more are:
- park your car further away from the shops
- climb stairs instead of using the elevator or escalator
- take a walk while you have a phone meeting/conversation
- spread your household chores across the week.
Exercise plus incidental activity wins
Making conscious decisions to increase your overall physical activity is also another tool to help you manage your blood glucose levels on a daily basis.
Over a week, the extra steps and movement throughout the day add up and will help you achieve a more active and healthy life.
Most importantly, combining structured exercise with regular incidental activity will help your health.
By Hayley Nicholson, Exercise Physiologist, Credentialled Diabetes Educator