1 August 2007

Move it and Lose it!

Don’t just sit there!
Light activity helps avoid chronic disease according to research by the University of Queensland and the International Diabetes Institute published in Diabetes Care (Vol 30 No 6). The results not only confirm that a sedentary lifestyle is associated with high blood glucose levels, but show that washing dishes, ironing and other routine domestic or occupational tasks (light intensity physical activity) are associated with lower blood glucose levels. The researchers didn’t rely on what people said they did, they measured it. Although it is still important to do your 30 minutes a day of moderate-to-vigorous intensity activity, the findings show that there are real blood glucose benefits from reducing sedentary time and increasing the time spent on normal daily activities or basic chores. Lead researcher, Genevieve Healy, suggests that ‘folding clothes or ironing as you watch TV, standing while on the phone or walking to see an office colleague rather than emailing them, are simple and easy ways to do this.’


So if you are too busy, too tired, too rushed, too stressed, too hot, too cold to go to the gym or take a walk or do a regular exercise routine try putting out the garbage, making the bed, doing chores, walking to the bus stop, popping out for a coffee or bounding up the escalator in the mall. If you make a conscious effort to increase the amount of this kind of incidental activity in your day, it will eventually become second nature.

Chores are chores, so just read this list as a prompt.

  • Hang out the washing rather than shoving it in the dryer – it’s good for the planet too.
  • Get rid of the leaf blower (the neighbours will thank you) and rake or sweep the old-fashioned way.
  • Use an old-fashioned push mower.
  • Weed and mulch the garden.
  • Walk the dog – and no hitting tennis balls for him to retrieve.
  • Be house proud! Mop, dust, polish and sweep. Your blood glucose levels will thank you.
  • Don’t drive the kids to or from school – walk. And talk too, about things they have on their minds.
  • Run your own errands – pop down to the corner store for a bottle or milk or the paper.

And don’t just sit there.
  • Take the long way round – getting a drink from the office water cooler, going to the bathroom.
  • Get off your butt and talk to your colleagues rather than emailing.
  • Enjoy the fresh air with friends to catch up on the gossip rather than phoning or texting or sitting over a coffee.
  • Park the car at the opposite end of the carpark and walk to the ATM, post office or dry cleaners.
  • Walk to a restaurant (or park a good distance from it) to force yourself to take a walk after dinner.