In a new report out today, apparently 50-70,000 of us will die prematurely every year by virtue of being too stationary.
The study, by Queen’s University Belfast and Ulster University, found that prolonged sedentary behaviour, apparently lead to around 69,276 deaths which could have been prevented. “Sedentary” is defined as sitting for more than six hours a day. Sound familiar….?
This definitely resonated with me. Early last year I recognised that my daily step count was occasionally as low as 5,000 although every now and again over reached 10,000 – the daily recommended amount. So, I endeavoured to do just that. Every day. Initailly, I did OK, but let things go in November. But I was determined to get back into it. So I set myself a target to get as long a streak as I can. That was on Christmas Eve – day 1. Today is 26 March 2019 and I’m now 92 days into that streak. Not bad eh!?! It takes a while for it become a habit!
How have I done that? Well, making incremental changes to normal behaviour. Firstly a push – my Fitbit has an alert which you can get to trigger if you haven’t moved enough in that hour. Most wearable devices will have the same feature. Mine is set for 250 steps. If I haven’t done 250 by ten to the hour, my wrist vibrates – and then again at five to the hour if I haven’t got off my arse. It then does a vibrating happy dance when I get to my 10,000th step of the day.
Then some self-inflicted changes – Parking in the furthest place away from the office door, taking a lunchtime stroll (great for Vit D!), walking around London rather than taking the tube, going to talk to someone in the office rather than send that email, doing conference calls on the move, not going to the supermarket on the way home, but using the local Co-op (which then supports the boys school) to get daily essentials. All those steps add up.
It’s not been as hard as I thought it would be. Do I sometimes get to 10.30 and suddenly realise my wrist hasn’t vibrated? Yep. Do I stick the shoes back on and go for a walk round the block? Yep. I’m now on nodding terms with a couple of late night dog walkers!
What I have found, as a helpful aside, is that in doing all this, I’ve created my time for personal development. I listen to podcasts (some of them here – must update it!) and the odd Audible book and use those strolling times to take in podcasts which help me keep an eye (ear?) on latest trends, or learn from others in the digital/social/comms space. Well worth doing – regardless of whether the staying-alive-longer thing isn’t your “why”. Always keep learning. It’s also inadvertently resulted in me guesting on Digital Download/! And I find it sparks creative ideas too. My Evernote files are kept full with ideas for podcasts, blogs (must find time to turn them into blogs!), initiatives, work ideas, rugby ideas etc.
So, it’s a bit of a win-win-win. Gets me my exercise, helps me keep learning, and (hopefully) will keep me alive a bit longer! So if you spot me out and about – do keep me accountable. Mrs L and the Dynamic Duo have taken to checking every day when I get home how I’ve done, in case they need to send me out!
What are you doing to keep active? What will you decide to do to keep active? Come on – you want to live longer right?