I'm continuing on with my posts relating to the '10 Keys to Happier Living' (check out the cool video at the end of this post), and this week's topic is (you guessed it) EXERCISING: Take care of your body.
Now, before you scream, run away, and dive back under the covers of denial, I'd like to discuss some great research that shows how we can all fit 'moving more' into our already-busy schedules.
I've been reading some research lately about the health effects of standing vs sitting (you heard it correctly: not 'huffing-and-puffing', just 'standing'). A couple of weeks ago I came across a really great article, and just felt that I had to share it.
The article by Tony Fitzsimons, titled 'We're sitting ourselves to death', detailed an excellent (and highly-readable) summary of the latest research on this topic.
In a nutshell, we're all sitting too much. And even if we exercise the recommended 30 minutes (or even an hour) daily, we're STILL sitting too much - up to 16 hours, in fact.
Our human bodies were designed to be in constant movement during our waking hours. But now in our increasingly mechanised society, we have machines to do the work for us. For many of us, we even sit at a 'machine' (computer) at our workplaces, often for hours at a time.
Interestingly, prior to the Second World War the concept of exercise was reasonably foreign. People were very active in their everyday lives, both at home and in their work (often on a farm), and didn't have a need to go to the gym.
But back to 2011, most of us don't live that way anymore. We have to be more intentional about incorporating movement into our everyday lives, as unfortunately, the phrase 'use it or lose it' will always prove true. This also applies to our flexibility, strength, and muscle tone (and, in turn, our metabolisms).
The Heart Foundation confirms that too much sitting is bad for our health, even if we're meeting minimum exercise requirements. They report on research revealing that too much sitting can increase your risk of heart disease by as much as 50 per cent.
So, how does this all relate to increasing our happiness levels? One word: endorphins. These are mood-boosting chemicals that our bodies produce when we're physically active, giving us that feel-good rush. It's well-documented that participating in regular exercise can even be effective in treating certain types of depression.
It all sounds like reason enough to move around more. So I'm signing off now to go do some vigorous housework (*sigh!).
Oh, and for the record, I read most of the research articles for this blog post while standing up. :)
Let me know your tips for including more physical activity in your day by sharing on my Facebook page. Thanks. :)