Sara Middleton via NaturalHealth365 – If the dreaded “freshman 15” weight gain is a real issue for young college students, then perhaps “pandemic pounds” is a brand-new concern affecting people of all ages.
After all, we know that sitting too much is a serious threat to optimal health and associated with becoming overweight and obese. But, to make matters worse – according to one recent study, the average person is now struggling with an increased level of physical inactivity thanks to the global lockdowns.
Pandemic Lockdowns Associated with Significantly Less Daily Physical Activity, According to British Research
The study, published in BMJ Neurology, used accelerometers to measure peoples’ daily physical activity before and during lockdowns. These accelerometers measured, tracked, and categorized the study subjects’ movement as either vigorous, moderate, or light activity, or inactivity. Study participants included people who used wheelchairs, a frequently underrepresented demographic in scientific research.
The researchers found that lockdowns were associated with a significant reduction in daily levels of light physical activity, which is typically observed during things like work, socializing, leisure, and simply getting up and moving about. Prior to lockdowns, participants performed almost 90 minutes of light activity per day. During lockdowns, their mean time spent doing light activity tanked by nearly 30 minutes — a decline of almost one-third. And the frequency with which participants moved every hour (which was already relatively low to begin with) declined by a median of 11 percent during the lockdown.
The British researchers note that decreases in light physical activity can have significant implications on health outcomes for all people, especially people with chronic health conditions like neurological disorders. In addition to obesity, for example, physical inactivity has even been linked to an increased risk of depression, anxiety, cancer, and heart disease, according to Johns Hopkins Medicine.
Inspired by their study, the researchers encouraged individuals to move for 5 minutes every hour, in addition to participating in daily exercise … a nod to the idea that any movement is better than no movement at all.
Stuck at Home Because of a Local Lockdown? Here Are 5 Simple Ways to Stay Moving Throughout Your Day
Even if you exercise, sitting too much during the rest of your day can be hard on your health. So, in addition to getting in your regular gym session or home workout routine, make sure to avoid sitting too much by implementing these simple strategies:
- Leave your cell phone in a different room, so when it rings or buzzes you’ll have to get up and walk to go look at it. (Note: do not use this strategy if you’re at risk of falls and your cell phone is your only means of calling for help.)
- Keep a water bottle with you and drink regularly. Staying hydrated means you’ll be needing the bathroom a lot more … and needing to get up to relieve yourself.
- Commit to at least one walk per day. Walking outside offers well-documented mental and physical health benefits and is a free and simple way to increase your daily activity. To help the habit stick, try to head out for a walk at the same time every day.
- If you can, sit on the floor more often. Play with your grandchildren or kids, snuggle with your pets, or simply do some light stretching. Being able to get on and off the ground is a surprisingly important physical skill, especially as we get older.
- Still trying to socialize while socially distancing? Move around your house or do some light exercises while talking on the phone instead of just sitting in a chair.
Hopefully, our message today is very clear. A sedentary lifestyle is bad news for your future health. So, be sure to maintain an active lifestyle … because your efforts will produce great rewards.
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