Technology has become a fundamental part of our everyday lives. Each day, many of us spend more hours in front of screens than we spend eating, sleeping and exercising combined. Our lives have become more sedentary than ever before.
This abundance of sitting behaviour is having a negative impact on our health.
The average Canadian adult spends 50 to 70 per cent of their daily life in a seated position and another 30 per cent sleeping. Whether at our desks, in our cars or on the couch, we sit more than we move.
Physical activity is known to help reduce more than 25 chronic conditions, including:
- Coronary heart disease
- Breast and colon cancer
- Type 2 diabetes
Physical inactivity statistics
- Only 15 per cent of adults and nine per cent of children/youth are meeting the Canadian Guidelines for Physical Activity.
- Fitness levels in children, youth and adults have declined significantly since 1981.
- Canadian youth are spending more than six hours a day on weekdays and seven hours on weekends in front of a screen (TV, gaming, computers), not including time spent in school or at work.
Small, simple changes to your daily life can instantly increase your level of daily activity. Here are a few tips to get you started:
- Make fitness fun
Lots of people see going to the gym as basically the same as going to the office, with the added indignities of communal change rooms and lots of stinky, sweaty people. Instead of trundling along on a treadmill or risking embarrassment in a fitness class, make it a mission to try out all sorts of different physical activities, from sea kayaking to hiking, geocaching to ultimate Frisbee, snowshoeing to bouncing on a trampoline.
- Work fitness into everyday life
Not a gym person, and no money or time to spend on active adventures? Try working fitness into your daily routines. As little as 30 minutes of activity a day makes a difference, and if you can walk your kids to school and back, you’re probably more than halfway there. Add an after-school dance party and you’re done.
- Take the stairs
Taking the stairs instead of an elevator or escalator really helps. Getting out of breath or aching legs are not excuses for avoiding the stairs. Once taking the stairs becomes a routine, it will become easier and you‘ll no longer consider it a chore.
- Ditch the car
Park your car several blocks away from your destination. If you use public transportation, get off before your stop and walk the rest of the way. You can even fit in a short walk before heading into the mall or grocery store or walk to the coffee shop instead of driving. Little errands add up. Not only will you be adding steps to your daily activity, but you’ll no longer have to search for the coveted parking spot near the doors.
- Take a hike
Explore different parts of the province and discover the beauty of nature. Hiking trails provide the pathway to a physical and memorable adventure. Check out www.hikenovascotia.ca or www.novatrails.com for trail directories.
Kids' Run Club coordinator
Health promotion advisor