Thanks to Ronan Berry on Midlands 103 for the opportunity to talk about the impact of prolonged sitting / increased sedentary behaviour on our health. It was a quick chat with plenty of stuttering on my behalf after a long research day, but hopefully some good advice was given! We have provided some further information on this topic below in addition to some practical tips and resources for you if you are someone who needs to break up sitting / sedentary time with physical activity. We have also been commissioned by Laois Sports Partnership to design and deliver a free 12 week online training study starting in September for adults aged 50-80 years in Laois if you would like to join us. You can read more details here http://www.truefitness.ie/news/free-12-week-physical-activity-study-50-80-year-olds-laois/. This study is funded by the Slaintecare Integration Fund under grant agreement 21. If you would like to hear the Midlands 103 interview it starts at 37 minutes 40 seconds for 3-4 minutes https://soundcloud.com/midlands103official/taking-care-of-business-tuesday-25th-august-2020.
Physical inactivity/too much sitting accelerates the ageing process
Ageing results in numerous physiological changes in the human body. There is a significant decrease in cardiovascular fitness, muscle mass, strength and power, bone mass, metabolic and cardiovascular health. These unfavourable changes place us at increased risk of developing a host of clinical conditions including obesity, type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease and certain cancers along with degenerative musculoskeletal conditions like sarcopenia (loss of muscle mass), osteoporosis and arthritis and muscle injuries. The ageing process is accelerated when it is combined with physical inactivity and a sedentary lifestyle. Ultimately, these negative physiological adaptations increase frailty, increase the risk of falls, increase the level of difficult of all activities we do in our day e.g. climbing stairs, carrying shopping etc., reduce our psychological health and well-being and contribute to loss of independence and poor quality of life. The Ageing process begins far earlier than people often realise. In fact these changes begin as early as the 3rd decade (30’s) for people who are very inactive. However, physical activity is a very powerful tool to delay and combat all of these changes. The level of strength, fitness, flexibility and balance that you have in your middle age predict the level of functionality, independence and health you have in later years, so it is important so start developing these now, especially if you have not been regularly physically active. A few simple changes to your daily routine will make a big difference!!
What type of physical activity should you do?
Your body adapts very specifically to different types of physical activity. We need to regularly perform a combination of aerobic, resistance, flexibility and balance exercises to obtain maximum benefit from training. This will help to ensure we live not just a long life span, but a long health span with good quality of life, disease free years, vitality and well-being. Participation in the four types of physical activity mentioned here (aerobic, resistance, flexibility and balance) have many important benefits to our health, some of the key benefits are listed below.
Aerobic exercise (e.g. cycling, walking, swimming, running, dancing) improves body composition, reduces body fat, increases the functioning of the cardiovascular system, improves insulin sensitivity and increases aerobic fitness (VO2max). Aerobic fitness is an independent predictor of health and protects against a range of chronic conditions including type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease. Resistance training (e.g. body weight squats, lunges etc., machine weights, TRX, kettle bells etc.) increases total muscle mass and muscle strength and power. Resistance training also increases bone density (thickness). These adaptations are crucial to maintaining muscle function, strength and power, preventing frailty and falls and promoting functional independent living in older age. Flexibility training improves mobility and range of motion in all joints and is linked to independent living in later years. Balance training improves stability and when combined with strength training reduces the likelihood of falls in older adults.
Practical tips and resources to help you!
If you are someone who sits all day as part of your job, then you may experience back pain, neck pain, shoulder pain, knee pain etc. If you incorporate a few minutes of stretching (flexibility) into your day, it will make a big difference to you. Take 5 minutes once or twice in your working day to perform the stretches below. These can be done in your chair so you don’t even have to leave the room.
This link https://youtu.be/uFTzEK7ulrQ will take you through one of the functional circuits we do with our True Transformation groups. In this video, John takes you through a full 15 minute warm up, main phase which includes a mixture of aerobic and resistance training exercise, and a 10 minute cool down. It is very important to perform the warm up because this prepares your body safely for exercise and the cool down allows your body to transition safely from exercise to rest.
This link https://youtu.be/k5j-CKN_39M specifically takes you through a home based strength workout.
This link https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eNEwGQ0FhRE&t=61s takes you through a flexibility (stretching routine).
The purpose of this blog is to provide you with a basic introduction into the types of exercise that are very effective in improving your strength, fitness, balance and flexibility. We hope the resources will help to get you started on your physical activity journey. If you found these useful keep an eye out on our facebook and twitter page where we regularly post tips, videos and circuit cards for home based workouts.
*Please note that all exercise carries a risk of discomfort, muscle soreness, and potentially more serious adverse effects for individuals with clinical conditions if you are exercising beyond the ability that your body is able for. If you have a clinical condition, please ensure you have medical clearance before you begin a new exercise routine. You may also wish to contact us for a consultation with our Clinical Exercise Physiologist.
Yours in health,
Dr Diane Cooper & The True Fitness Team.