A modern problem
People are less active nowadays, partly because technology has made our lives easier. We drive cars or take public transport. Machines wash our clothes
. We entertain ourselves in front of a TV or computer screen. Fewer people are doing manual work, and most of us have jobs that involve little physical effort. Work, house chores, shopping and other necessary activities are far less demanding than for previous generations.
We move around less and burn off less energy than people used to. Research suggests that many adults spend more than seven hours a day sitting down, at work, on transport or in their leisure time. People aged over 65 spend 10 hours or more each day sitting or lying down, making them the most sedentary age group.
Inactivity is described by the Department of Health as a “silent killer”. Evidence is emerging that sedentary behaviour, such as sitting or lying down for long periods, is bad for your health.
Not only should you try to raise your activity levels, but you should also reduce the amount of time you and your family spend sitting down.
Common examples of sedentary behaviour include watching TV, using a computer, using the car for short journeys and sitting down to read, talk or listen to music – and such behavior is thought to increase your risk of many chronic diseases, such as heart disease, stroke and type 2 diabetes, as well as weight gain and obesity.
Previous generations were active more naturally through work and manual labour, but today we have to find ways of integrating activity into our daily lives.
Whether it is limiting the time babies spend strapped in their buggies, or encouraging adults to stand up and move frequently, people of all ages need to reduce their sedentary behavior.
This means that each of us needs to think about increasing the types of activities that suit our lifestyle and can easily be included in our day.