Get up and move – it’s good for you!
Dr Emma Short recognises the importance of group running - whether that’s virtually using apps like Racefully - or in real life.
She set up a community running group called Sirius running (Sirius is the brightest star in the sky!) and there are now six of them qualified (and additional first aiders).
She says, "We started off with couch to 5k groups, then we expanded to run C25K, 5-10k, a long-distance group, hills and intervals and we ran a group for anyone who had had a cancer diagnosis. It's an amazing group - everyone who comes along is incredibly supportive and encouraging and we're a real community! We aim to get the community active whilst having fun, and many of the people who start with C25K go on to complete a half marathon! Also, one of our leaders started out as a C25K participant!"
"After all," she continues, "the health benefits of being physically active are long established and well defined. Regular exercise reduces the overall risk of death, and the risks of cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, certain cancers, falls, dementia, back pain and osteoporosis. Exercise has a positive impact on mood and reduces symptoms of anxiety and depression. But, as well as being physically active, it is also important not to spend too much time sitting. Sitting still for prolonged periods of time has a negative impact on our health and wellbeing. Increased sedentary time is associated with a poorer health-related quality of life and increased depressive symptoms. But it is not clear whether this is a cause or an effect - do we sit because we feel low or are we low in mood because we spend too long sitting still?"
Emma’s top tips on how to be less sedentary
- Set an alarm on your phone or watch to go off at regular intervals, ideally every 30 minutes but, if this isn’t possible, every hour. Each time the alarm goes off, make yourself move - you could march on the spot, walk up and down a flight of stairs or perform an exercise such as squats or lunges. The longer you can do this for the better, but it’s likely than anything is better than nothing.
- If you have a desk-based job, consider whether it might be possible to swap the desk to a standing one rather than a standard sitting one. Some businesses are starting to hold standing meetings. Other ideas for things you can do at work are to move your bin away from your desk so you have to get up to throw your litter away, or to choose a workstation furthest from the kettle so you have to walk a greater distance to make a cup of coffee.
- If you are required to sit for long periods of time, think about what you could do to stay active even though you’re seated. One option could be to get an under-desk bike - you can get these for less than £15 and they keep you moving whilst you would otherwise be sedentary.
- When you go to the toilet at work, make a conscious effort to go to a bathroom which is further away than your most convenient one.
- If you’re watching the television, try and minimise your sitting or lying periods. You could use this time to do a chore such as ironing, so you’re standing, or practise an activity like yoga. Each time there’s an advert break, walk up and down the stairs or get up and make yourself a drink. If you want to change the channel, get up to do it rather than using the remote control.
- Set yourself time limits on screen time. This way you’ll minimise your sedentary periods and you could also find that you’ve got more time to do other activities such as exercise, which are will be further beneficial for your health.
- If you’re chatting on your mobile phone, walk and talk rather than sit still with your phone.
Although at the moment there aren’t any official guidelines as to how often we should be moving, the important thing is to sit less. Make a conscious effort to incorporate activities into your daily routine and try to move as often as possible.
Watch a short video where Physio Adam Rattenberry and Athlete Sam Gordon talk you through some useful mobility exercises.
Watch below or click to view video on YouTube.