Here’s a bit of good news: you don’t need to run marathons or play a professional sport to stay heathy and fit. That said, regular activity throughout the day can make an amazing difference in your life. Study after study shows the enormous health hazards of extended sitting, including organ damage, muscle degradation, and even reduced brain function. It can also weaken feet and leave them more susceptible to injury, which can rob you of your mobility and independence.
That said, we understand that a significant number of people work at a desk and enjoy sedentary hobbies such as watching TV or playing card, board, or video games, making it nearly impossible to avoid sitting for many hours each day. If you fall into this category, it’s critically important that you are disciplined about taking time to move your feet throughout the day.
If you have a desk job, see if you can spend part of your workday at a standing workstation, or at least using a backless chair or balance ball chair so that you engage more of your stabilizing muscles. If you can’t do that, at least make it a point to stand up and walk for a minute or two regularly throughout the day (about every 30 minutes), and go for a longer walk during your lunch break if you can. The more you can alternate sitting and standing, the better.
This goes for your home hobbies, too. While most of us agree that we probably watch too much TV, you can at least still burn some calories and help keep your body from “shutting down” by standing up and walking around the room or doing a quick set of jumping jacks, yoga, or stretching during each commercial break.
Now, this is not an excuse to watch more television. You’re still much better off switching the set off entirely and picking up a more physically active hobby, and studies show that reducing sitting time is more effective than simply increasing exercise to compensate for it. But regularly breaking up extended sitting with a bit of motion can at least help nullify some of the detrimental effects.
One good way to motivate yourself may be to pick up a pedometer or other fitness tracker. Getting that to-the-minute feedback about steps and calories helps you set goals, monitor progress, and focus your efforts to get moving!
And, of course, don’t forget your feet! Feet are your body’s foundation, and keeping them pain free is an essential component of healthy living. Yet they are often ignored when it comes to thinking about stretching and exercise. Make sure your daily routine includes some foot, ankle, and lower limb work, such as calf stretches, heel raises, toe extensions, ankle rolls, balance exercises, or even massage.Even relatively minor foot pain can make regular activity extremely difficult, which in turn can keep you from staying active and healthy and doing what you love. Foot pain, therefore, needs to be addressed promptly. To schedule an appointment with Dr. Patel in either Milford or Hamden, CT, please give our team a call today at (203) 876-7736.