As you all may have read in our previous blogs, the national recommended guidelines for physical activity suggests the uptake of 30 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity in bouts of at least 10 minutes, 5 times per week with at least 2 resistance sessions including all of the major muscle groups (i.e. legs, core, shoulders, back and arms). Further information from the British Heart Foundation suggests a target of 10 000 steps per day. At first, 10 000 steps may sound like a daunting target but the physical health benefits received in addition to the identified improved mental health benefits from becoming more physically active really can help to improve your quality of life. Remember, exercise comes in multiple forms and so although you may not enjoy going for a run through the village, you may enjoy taking a family/friend walk through a local park. Here in Leicester we are blessed with the beautiful scenery of Bradgate Park!
How Can I Become More Active?
Well, there are 4 different domains of physical activity which include leisure time (i.e. going to the gym or playing sport), occupational (i.e. active work life which includes manual labourers and cleaners), transport (i.e. cycling or walking from A to B) and domestic (i.e. housework such as hovering, polishing etc). As soon as you feel an increase in heart rate and/or breathing rate, you are entering the physical activity domain. There is no right or wrong in what type of activity you should complete as long as your body receives some form of stimuli to raise your work rate above resting levels. The most important element for sustainability of exercise is finding something that you enjoy, so be sure to try a few different forms of exercise to find what makes you tick!
How Much Time Should I Spend Sitting?
This really is a million dollar question! Evidence suggests that there is no optimal range of sitting time as long as you lead a physically active lifestyle. Although research suggests that we minimise our sitting time, what we do in our leisure time contributes to how much sitting is deemed healthy. Those individuals that achieve 75 minutes of vigorous physical activity per week (i.e. sprinting or high intensity exercise), have no association with an increased health risk except for if they sit for 6-8 hours at work and then watching TV for 5+ hours each day. On the other hand, those that remain physically inactive during their leisure time (3+ hours of TV watching) and are also sedentary at work (at least 6-8 hours sitting) are associated with a significantly increased health risk. Therefore, there are no exact values of how much time we should spend sitting as long as we lead physically active lifestyles either at work or in our leisure time. By becoming more active inside and outside of work, the health of the nation may become tremendously improved!