May 29, 2014

Most 30 year old women feel young and vibrant, and potential health conditions are decades away, right? Wrong, according to research released yesterday by the University of Queensland.

We’ve long known that physical activity increases the risks of health problems. This new research found that in women over the age of 30, the risk is greater than smoking, obesity, heart disease, and high blood pressure.

Researchers tracked the health of over 32,000 women and published the results in the British Journal of Sports Medicine.

Research professor Wendy Brown said the research showed that if women moved more and followed the recommended daily exercise guidelines, the lives of 2,600 middle-aged and older women could be saved each year in Australia alone.

So the research is not saying that 30 year old women will suffer these health conditions immediately, but that they should find ways to increase their activity to prevent the conditions from developing.

Our lifestyles have become less active. At work we sit in front of a computer; leisure time involves computers, tablets and TV; labour-saving devices and appliances in the home: all have contributed to us becoming less active. Busy lives do not mean active lives.

There are many things we can do to contribute to exercise recommendations:

  • Take a 2-minute break every hour at work and walk a flight of stairs.
  • Walk to a colleague’s office to talk rather than sending an email.
  • Get a standing desk, rather than sitting down all day (see here). If you can’t have a standing desk at work, at least stand up and stretch every hour. Set a reminder in your calendar so that you don’t forget.
  • Walk to the shops and organise home-delivery of groceries.
  • Get the family moving before dinner and take the kids to a park, or walk the dog.
  • Get a skipping rope or hula hoop and do just 5 minutes before breakfast.
  • Prepare all your meals at home rather than relying on take-aways or frozen dinners – the time spent standing adds to exercise volume.
  • Come to Healthy Inspirations! Resistance exercise in the company of like-minded women makes the exercise experience fun as well as beneficial.

Finally, we need to evaluate our priorities. None of us have time if we don’t value what we’re trying to make time for. Is the latest episode of Home and Away or another few games of Candy Crush really more important than our long-term health and wellness?