Fitbits, fitness trackers and step counters are becoming increasingly popular and we are becoming increasingly obsessed with tracking our movement. Whether it is the number of steps, the equivalent of the number of flights of stairs or the number of kilometres we cover, wearable tracking devices are making movement matter and making us pay attention.
But more than the obvious weight loss benefit, and more than the amount we are moving and steps we are covering, we need to be equally as aware of the amount of time we aren’t moving. Research has shown that while exercise is great, covering most of your steps on a run in the morning and then sitting for most of the rest of the day doesn’t have the same benefits as regular movement throughout the day. Regularly walking, getting up out of your chair and getting those muscles active is a key component to maintaining overall health. Here’s why movement matters:
1. Lower back pain, tight hip flexors and glute inactivation comes from sitting
Many of our regular issues of pain and discomfort, such as lower back pain, tight hip flexors and poor flexibility start from the fact that we spend long periods of time sitting – most of the time with poor posture. The hip flexors are stuck at a 90 degree angle, when they should be open, and our back is collapsed underneath our collapsed – or raised – shoulders. All of these things hold tension and increase stress and can be relieved if we walk around!
2. Fresh air, fresh mind
While not guaranteed, a lot of the time, walking and moving gets us outside into the fresh air. It encourages you to get some sunshine, feel the breeze and breathe in new, non-office recycled air. And this does wonders for your concentration, brain function, focus and perspective. It helps you see negative situations more positively, or helps you see a problem from a different angle such that now you can more effectively solve it. Not to mention, being outside helps release feel good chemicals in your brain. Next time you are in need of a walk, make it an outdoor one!
3. Helping you show up
If you feel like you have low energy levels, lack motivation, and struggle to perform – or work up the momentum to perform – day to day tasks, long periods of sitting could be to blame. Sitting for a long time, eventually slows down your body and makes it feel like it needs to produce less energy. It does this in an effort to conserve energy, but meanwhile, you have less energy to use and it makes you less productive, less motivated and less able to show up well for yourself and others. Getting up and walking can shift this quickly, boosting your energy and making you more efficiently able to show up.
While of course moving and walking gives you exercise, it’s about more than that and we need to remember to focus on all the added benefits you can gain from simply putting one foot in front of the other.
By: Laura Peill, RHN, BScH – Viand Nutrition