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Moving makes the difference to your physical and mental health

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Written by Gail Moore. Originally published in October, 2017 Business Venture.

Do yourself a big favour. Stand up. Sit less. Move more.

Physical inactivity is now being called the biggest public health problem of our time. Many people spend a lot of their day sitting down. Aside from being hard on your back, sitting too much actually slows down your metabolism so you burn less fat. And it doesn’t get any better as we age – sitting increases your risk of disability, is bad for your immune system and even diminishes your brain power.

Research now suggests that exercising for an hour is not going to help very much if you spend the rest of the day sitting.

We sit down when we eat, watch TV, work on our computers, play on our electronic devices, bank, pay bills, attend meetings, and watch sports, plays and movies. So we really want to change our mind set to find ways to stand more as we go about our day. Think about when you could “stand instead of sit” and “walk instead of stand.”

The good news is that there really are lots of benefits when we move more. You will actually get more done in your workday, feel better, be more productive and probably have less down time due to sickness.

Have you ever wondered why you seem “fresher” and seem to think better after an exercise break? A growing body of evidence suggests we think and learn better when we walk or do another form of exercise. The reasons for this are not completely understood, but part of the reason exercise enhances cognition has to do with blood flow. Research shows that when we exercise, blood pressure and blood flow increase everywhere in the body, including the brain. More blood means more energy and oxygen – and that makes our brain perform better.

Try it! In addition to your regular exercise routine – which hopefully includes 3-4 times a week at the gym or outside or wherever you exercise – add a 5-minute “fitness break” to every hour of your day. Sounds like a lot, but it’s not. Stand up, walk around, dance, bend, stretch, hop or skip – whatever feels good. Try it for a week and your body will thank you and convince you to keep going!

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