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Step up to a Healthier You with the Haldimand-Norfolk Health Unit

Physical Activity

Sedentary Activities

Promoting physical activity would not be complete without talking about sedentary activities, or sitting for long periods of time.

Advances in technology have basically “engineered” movement out of our lives. Countless chores and activities that used to require people to move and burn energy are now a thing of the past. What seems like the “natural choice” [i.e. going to the drive thru] isn’t natural at all. The human body was “engineered” for movement. By taking away all these chances to move, people move less and less and increase their risk of being overweight - and developing chronic diseases - more and more. This changing world is changing us.

Looking back over the years the workplace has also changed a great deal. Upgraded and computerized machines have replaced a lot of people and reduced a lot of movement. A greater effort is needed on your part to add more activity into your day.

Although the car is a necessity in today’s society, especially in rural communities, a lot of people rely on it as their only form of transportation. People drive to work, to school, to church, to the post office, to the corner store, etc. This replaces a whole lot of moving that we no longer do.

In a constant effort to save us time and energy, the list of remote control and automated devices and drive thru opportunities continues to grow. Unfortunately, all that “saved energy” also sees our waistbands growing. Consider this list.

a recently cleaned truck driving out
of a car wash

  • Remote control TV / stereo / VCR/ DVD
  • Lights that turn on automatically
  • Remote control fans
  • Remote control fire places
  • Remote control remote control locators
  • Remote control garage door openers
  • Remote control car starters
  • Automatic lawn sprinklers
  • Automated doors
  • Automatic can openers
  • Power windows and locks for cars
  • Pay at the pump gas stations
  • Drive thru coffee shops, fast food, banking, movie return boxes, car washes

Taking all of these short cuts every opportunity every day really adds up to a less active daily life.

Get back to the basics and challenge yourself to make the active choice, every chance you get:

  • a man raking leaveswash your car by hand
  • do your own housework – turn the music on and really move it!
  • walk the dog – instead of just letting him out in the back yard
  • walk or bike to school / work if close enough [park the car a short distance from work and walk the rest of the way]
  • take the stairs – have you seen the Becel “trapped on an escalator” commercial?
  • use a push mower to
    mow the lawn
  • shovel the snow instead of snow blowing
  • rake the leaves instead of blowing them
  • choose canoeing or kayaking over power boat activities
  • choose snow shoeing or skiing over snowmobiling
  • walk to run errands [park the car in one spot]
  • walk to the gym!

What is the moral of the story? A lot of things can happen automatically but your health isn’t one of them! Challenge yourself to make the active choice and move a bit more, more often.