Long walk to Health
Another hazy morning in the Klang Valley, the rush hour is on, the people are in their cars on their way to work. Most people then spend a good part of the day at work, sat at their desks giving their best and maybe taking a short walk to lunch at midday before seeing out the end of the working day and embarking on the commute home.
After work, some may stop over at their favourite food court or eatery to eat and meet friends. Over a meal of rice or roti with rich and spicy dishes, we sit and unwind with friends, sometimes until the wee hours.
Imagine, we have been sitting from the morning rush hour, through the working day, the commute home and now while you are relaxing at your favourite eatery or mamak.
In recent news, extended periods of sitting is not only unhealthy but can also knock years off your life.
An American Cancer Society study involving over 120,000 people over 14 years found that women who sat for more than six hours a day were about 40% more likely to die during the course of the study than those who sat fewer than three hours per day. Men were about 20% more likely to die.
In studies looking at heart disease, obesity and diabetes, long periods of sitting also raised risks of these diseases.
Low levels of physical activity is a major risk factor for ill health and mortality from all causes.
People who do insufficient physical activity have a greater risk of cardiovascular disease, colon and breast cancers, diabetes and osteoporosis.
Health experts define the minimum physical activity needed as moderate intensity exercise for 30 minutes, 5 days a week or vigorous exercise for 20 minutes, 3 days a week.
Some workplaces in America have installed adjustable workstations so that employees can choose to work sitting or standing and even desks with treadmills all in an effort to keep their staff healthy and productive.
Living as we do in the Klang valley, the long hours of commuting and work usually leaves us too drained to do any exercise at all. Credit to those who make time to break a sweat.
Half an hour of exercise a day does not seem so much if you can break it down into 10 minute bursts. A brisk walk up the stairs in the morning to the office helps you loosen up after the drive to work. Exercises and stretching can also be done at the workplace.
Take 10 minutes out of your lunch to go for a brisk walk and start burning some of the calories of that sumptuous lunch.
As the afternoon wears on, your mind feels tired and sleepy especially after lunch, fighting the urge for a nap. Perhaps, you can go for a brisk 10 minute walk in the stairwell. A short burst exercise like this quickly speeds up your metabolism and refreshes you.
A fast walk in the cool evening around the taman after a day at work, helps to soothe away the stresses of the day. You may have exceeded your exercise needs for the day without even trying hard.