I imagine that you will have all seen the recent headlines: nearly half of adults aged between 40 to 60 fail to do ONE brisk 10 minute walk, not daily, not even weekly but incredibly in a whole month!!!!
I have worked in the fitness industry for a zillion years now and I have met hundreds of people who have strived to get fitter and improve their health. I am more than aware of the barriers that can prevent people including physical activity into their daily lives, some of whom have medical conditions and disabilities which don’t make things easy but, even I am shocked at this recent report! Surely everyone can manage at the very, very least 10 minutes a month!!!! Two and a half minutes a week??????? Yes they can and stop calling me Shirley! (You’d have to have seen the Airplane films to appreciate that joke…)
Joking aside this has really worried me. What is going on? Why have humans become so incredibly lazy? Other animal species haven’t evolved to sit on their back sides all day, so why have we? Apparently, we are 20% less active now than we were in the 1960’s, going by this revelation I would have thought that to be a higher percentage. Back in the 60’s not as many people had a car and relied on it for short journeys as we do today. Hand on heart, do you stroll to the local shop or do you jump in the car?
We have all the equipment we need to walk; a heart and circulatory system, a skeleton, a respiratory and neurological system, legs, feet and a brain. This all makes up our own individual, amazing body, the vehicle that we inhabit so that we can live our lives. OK, so it may not be up to supermodel standard, it may not be well equipped to be a medal winning athlete, it may have parts that don’t work properly or are a bit wobbly and some wrinkles but they all have one thing in common; they crave and need movement to function properly and to be healthy.
The Public Health England are so concerned they have released an advert, cleverly using a middle aged man who looks exactly like the target group they are hoping to engage with and not a young athletic person. Sometimes the leisure industry do get it wrong by promoting physical activity using images of very slim, very toned, fit models who the general public can’t identify with and use this as a reason why exercise isn’t for them. I do understand that there are some people who have medical reasons which prevent them being able to be active, honestly I do, but I am talking to you, you, who sits all day at work, in a car, on the sofa, you who hasn’t worn out the soles of a pair of shoes in decades! I’m not even suggesting that you do the government recommended activity level of 30 minutes a day, just TEN MINUTES!
Years ago we wouldn’t be worrying about being active in our middle years; we would have already gone to meet our maker but science is keeping us alive for longer now, medication by the bucket loads are prescribed for heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure the list goes on. It is no longer good enough to add years to people’s lives, we also need to add life to their years! Do we really want to spend our last years on this planet too ill or disabled to live it?
The Government, NICE, WHO, UKactive, Sporta and a whole load of other organisations are trying so hard to come up with ideas to encourage people to be active, I sit on many boards and attend various workshops and lectures to hear the latest ideas, App, project or fitness gadget so that they can reduce the risk of the public developing chronic illness and lose their independence. Do we really need to be spending millions of pounds to try and get people to move more? Do you know what I think? you have to take responsibility for your own health. you have to know that no one is to blame because you have gained weight, at risk of developing diabetes and struggle to walk up a flight of stairs because your muscles have been sedentary for so long they don’t have the strength to haul you up, only you!
At Lifestyles gym in Stevenage we have installed an anti-gravity treadmill which has enabled people who have had a stroke or Parkinson’s, MS, chronic pain, spinal injuries in fact a whole host of conditions which make walking difficult to become active. These amazing people are doing way more than 10 minutes a month and loving it. If your body is healthy and functional but you are totally inactive take advantage of the ability to move freely because it is very likely that in the future it won’t!
I’m not going to write you an exercise programme, I’m not going to even tell you where you can fit in a 10 minute walk a day, you know this already, you really do know that you should be more active.
Come on people, you learned how to do this from a very early age; your Mum burst with pride when you took your first steps, don’t regress to not being able to walk again.
YOUR BODY NEEDS YOU!