Unlock The Secret To A Longer, Healthier Life In <30Mins A Day!

Welcome to The Project – Weekly episodes to add 10-20 quality years to your life in <5mins. 

This episode in a snapshot:

  • We were designed to move (and we’ve stopped)
  • Physical rewards of regular exercise
  • Mental & emotional benefits of being active
  • What are inactive lifestyles are doing to us
  • 5 easy ways to move throughout the day
  • Why you need to set goals & track progress
  • How to get started in the next 7 days

We were designed to move (but we’ve stopped)

It’s common sense that movement is essential for maintaining overall health and wellbeing. From an evolutionary perspective, our ancestors were constantly on the move; hunting, gathering and exploring. Today, 44% of working-age adults spend most of their day sitting.

Regular physical activity is crucial for proper functioning of various body systems; cardiovascular, respiratory, musculoskeletal and metabolic (ie. all systems). The World Health Organisation (WHO) recommends a minimum of 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity or 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity activity per week, combined with muscle-strengthening exercises on two or more days per week.

As of today, less than 25% of the Australian population meets this standard. Our goal is to improve these odds!

Physical benefits of regular exercise:

Improved Cardiovascular Health

Regular physical activity strengthens the heart, lowers blood pressure, improves cholesterol levels, and reduces the risk of heart disease (Journal of the American Heart Association).

Enhanced Muscle Strength and Flexibility

Strength training exercises improve muscle strength, power, and endurance. They also enhance flexibility and joint stability, which are crucial for maintaining functional independence, especially as we age (American College of Sports Medicine). Note: falls >65 are the #1 cause of hospitalisation.

Better Weight Management

Physical activity is a key component of weight management. It helps burn calories and, when combined with a balanced diet, can prevent weight gain and support weight loss (Obesity Reviews).

Reduced Risk of Chronic Diseases

Regular exercise reduces the risk of developing chronic diseases such as type 2 diabetes, hypertension, and certain cancers. It plays a crucial role in managing these conditions, improving overall health and longevity (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention).

Improved Bone Density

Weight-bearing and resistance exercises help maintain and improve bone density, reducing the risk of osteoporosis and fractures, which are common concerns as we age (The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism).

Regular exercise and mental health:

Reduction in Stress and Anxiety

Exercise is a natural stress reliever. Physical activity increases the production of endorphins, the body’s natural mood elevators, and reduces levels of stress hormones. Regular exercise has been shown to significantly reduce symptoms of anxiety and stress (Mental Health and Physical Activity).

Improvement in Mood and Mental Well-Being

Engaging in regular physical activity can improve mood and mental wellbeing. Exercise has been found to be as effective as antidepressants in treating mild to moderate depression (Journal of Psychiatric Research). Note: This is not claiming that exercise can replace medications for those experiencing more severe depressive symptoms.

Enhanced Cognitive Function

Aerobic exercise, in particular, has been shown to enhance cognitive function and protect against neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s. It improves memory, attention, and processing speed (Nature Reviews Neuroscience). If you want to make the most of your activity, combine a walk in nature with an educational podcast or audiobook. You’re more likely to absorb the information.

Better Sleep Quality

Regular physical activity can improve sleep quality and reduce the prevalence of sleep disorders such as insomnia. Exercise helps regulate sleep patterns, leading to more restful and restorative sleep (Sleep Medicine Reviews).

Increased Energy Levels

Contrary to what you might think, regular exercise actually boosts energy levels. Physical activity improves cardiovascular health, which increases overall stamina and reduces feelings of fatigue (Psychotherapy and Psychosomatics). By actively moving physically, you’re more likely to experience feeling like your are moving forwards in life as well. This builds momentum, and when we feel momentum, we feel motivated.

Our modern-day inactive lifestyles are having negative health consequences.

What are our sedentary lifestyles doing to us?

Increased Risk of Obesity

A sedentary lifestyle is a significant predictor of obesity, independent of dietary intake. Prolonged sitting and inactivity can lead to weight gain and associated health risks (International Journal of Obesity).

Higher Likelihood of Developing Chronic Diseases

Physical inactivity is linked to an increased risk of multiple chronic diseases, including cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, and certain cancers. Sedentary behaviour contributes to the development and progression of these conditions (The Lancet).

Negative Impact on Mental Health

Sedentary behaviour is associated with increased symptoms of depression and anxiety. Lack of physical activity can exacerbate mental health issues, leading to a cycle of inactivity and worsening mental health (BMC Public Health).

Reduced Mobility and Flexibility

A sedentary lifestyle leads to declines in physical function, reducing mobility and flexibility. This can result in difficulties performing daily activities and an increased risk of falls and injuries (The Journals of Gerontology). Reminder: If you want to live a long, unrestricted life you need to be training to avoid falls.

Potential for Early Mortality

Prolonged sitting and physical inactivity are associated with higher mortality rates. Even individuals who engage in regular physical activity but spend long periods sitting are at increased risk of early death (The American Journal of Epidemiology). For example, if you are in the bottom 25th percentile for VO2max (a marker of cardiovascular fitness), you are 4-5x more likely to die from all causes than if you were in the top 2.5% for your sex and age bracket.

5 easy ways to incorporate daily movement:

Walking or Cycling to Work

Active commuting, such as walking or cycling, is a simple way to incorporate physical activity into your daily routine. It improves cardiovascular health and helps maintain a healthy weight (Preventive Medicine) not to mention the additional benefits of being outdoors (and saving on parking and petrol $) if you’re within riding distance.

Taking the Stairs Instead of the Elevator

I beg you. Don’t become that person that will wait 5mins at the elevator to go 1-2 floors up at the office. Opting for the stairs instead of the elevator can significantly improve your fitness levels. This small change adds up over time, contributing to better cardiovascular health and leg strength (Scandinavian Journal of Medicine & Science in Sports).

Incorporating Short Exercise Breaks During the Day

Taking short, frequent breaks for physical activity during the workday can improve mood and productivity. Simple activities like stretching, walking, or doing a few push-ups can make a big difference (Occupational Medicine). Recent research has shown that doing regular bodyweight squats spaced out every ~60mins at the office has actually shown to be more beneficial than having one, longer active period (ie. 30min walk) during the day.

Engaging in Hobbies that Require Physical Activity

Consistency is key. So finding activities you enjoy, that involve movement should be high priority. Hobbies like gardening, dancing, or playing sports are enjoyable ways to stay active. They provide physical, mental, and social benefits, making it easier to stay committed to an active lifestyle (American Journal of Preventive Medicine).

Setting Reminders to Stand and Stretch Regularly

Standing and stretching at regular intervals throughout the day can reduce the negative health impacts of prolonged sitting. Set reminders on your phone or computer to take these essential breaks (Ergonomics). You like water? Use a small drink bottle so you constantly have to stand up and fill it up throughout the day. More old school? Cover your PC monitor in fluro sticky notes reminding you to move.

Choose wisely.

You need to set goals & track progress:

Importance of Setting SMART Goals

Setting SMART goals (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, Time-bound) is crucial for success. Clear goals provide direction and motivation, making it easier to stay on track (The Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research). The most important part of this section is to make something “tangible”. If we look up in 6-12 months, can we definitively say we have, or have not achieved your goal? This is why “be fitter” or “more toned” is not enough.

Examples of Achievable Goals for Beginners

The biggest reason people fail to take action, especially at the start, is due to a sense of “overwhelm”. Start with small, manageable goals. For example, aim for a 10-minute walk each day and gradually increase the duration and intensity. Celebrate these small victories to maintain motivation (American Journal of Health Promotion).

Tools and Apps for Tracking Physical Activity

There is no shortage of fitness trackers available now. A basic FitBit or step tracker can be purchased from as little as $19 these days. Fitness trackers and apps can enhance physical activity levels by providing feedback and motivation. Use these tools to monitor your progress, set new goals, and stay motivated (JMIR mHealth and uHealth).

Importance of Celebrating Milestones and Progress

Progress not perfection. Success comes from consistent effort. Celebrating milestones and progress boosts motivation and self-efficacy. Acknowledge your achievements, no matter how small, and use them as stepping stones to reach larger goals (Psychology of Sport and Exercise).

How to get started in the next 7 days

If you’ve made it to the end here, we can both agree that movement is essential for our health. By incorporating regular physical activity into your lifestyle you reap a wide variety of benefits.

You know me. Keep it simple (stupid). Let’s not over-complicate this. Exercise is one of the most-correlated healthspan predictors we have. Whatever you’re doing at the moment – aim to increase it by 10%. There appears to be no upper limit. The more the better.

If you currently take the elevator, take the stairs. If you walk 15mins a day, increase it by a few mins. If you don’t take any breaks in the day, take one.

It can be tough to not get overwhelmed, to drown out the constant noise of social media. If you’re interested in seeing how 1:1 Coaching can help you navigate this process and find a safe place to get moving again, you can click HERE to take our quiz and see if we’d be the solution you’re looking for.

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