Give up your seat

There’s more to the an­nual Feb­fast than tak­ing a break from those sum­mer sea­son in­dul­gences, writes ac­cred­ited ex­er­cise phys­i­ol­o­gist Ash­ley Baveas

Owner Driver - - News - ASH­LEY BEAVIS is an ac­cred­ited ex­er­cise phys­i­ol­o­gist with Di­a­betes NSW & ACT. For more in­for­ma­tion about keep­ing healthy visit www. di­a­betesnsw.com.au

IT IS COM­MON for peo­ple to fo­cus on giv­ing up al­co­hol or un­healthy foods dur­ing Feb­fast, but what if you were to give up your seat? Now this may seem like a crazy sug­ges­tion when driv­ing is your pro­fes­sion, but there are ways you can re­duce the time you spend sit­ting each day.

We know that pro­longed sit­ting is harm­ful for our health, with re­search show­ing it is the new health bur­den to our so­ci­ety. It has a sim­i­lar mor­tal­ity rate to that of smok­ing.

Peo­ple who spend a lot of their day seden­tary or seated (greater than eight hours) and have no struc­tured ex­er­cise rou­tine, have twice the risk of pre­ma­ture death than those who re­port the low­est sit­ting time (less than four hours).

There is also a strong link to sit­ting and di­a­betes.

The Aus­tralian Phys­i­cal Ac­tiv­ity Guide­lines rec­om­mend that you avoid pro­longed sit­ting and also high­lights the need to break up sit­ting time.

So what can you do when your job re­quires you to be seated?

Un­for­tu­nately, while driv­ing there is no way to avoid sit­ting down, but think out­side the box for a mo­ment.

You can ad­dress the need to break up sit­ting time by hav­ing reg­u­lar ac­tive stops. Sim­ply get­ting out of the cab and walk­ing around the truck will do you good.

Re­search con­ducted by Baker IDI showed that hav­ing a two-minute ac­tive break (light in­ten­sity) ev­ery 20 min­utes can re­duce blood glu­cose lev­els by up to 24 per cent post eat­ing. This has a mas­sive impact in help­ing to pre­vent di­a­betes. Even more rea­son to have those breaks af­ter you have had your lunch too.

If stop­ping ev­ery 20 min­utes isn’t pos­si­ble, set a goal of get­ting out of the ve­hi­cle and hav­ing a quick walk for at least five min­utes ev­ery hour. It may not sound like much, but 5-10 minute breaks will do your health a world of good.

In the short term, a walk will: • Boost your en­ergy lev­els nat­u­rally

(no en­ergy drinks needed!) • Keep your mind sharp and fo­cused –

im­por­tant for long drives • Get your blood cir­cu­lat­ing • Boost your im­mune sys­tem • Re­duce mus­cu­lar pain or ten­sion that has built up from pro­longed sit­ting and poor pos­ture. In the long term, if you are walk­ing reg­u­larly, it will help to re­duce your risk of de­vel­op­ing: • Type 2 di­a­betes • High blood pres­sure • High choles­terol • De­pres­sion • Heart at­tacks • Strokes.

Out­side your work­ing hours, how of­ten do you sit and how can you shake up your rou­tine? 1. Do you sit while watch­ing TV? Look to do some­thing ac­tive at the same time as watch­ing your favourite show to break it up, eg. house­work, body weight ex­er­cises such as calf raises or sit to stands. When the ad­verts come on, don’t reach for the re­mote and start flick­ing – take the op­por­tu­nity to do a lap around the house. 2. Do you sit while search­ing the net? Com­puter-based ac­tiv­i­ties can take up a lot of our spare time. It is im­por­tant to think about our health while we search the net. You could in­vest in a stand up desk or build your own. Other­wise, set a timer on your phone to re­mind you to get up for a light break ev­ery 20 min­utes. 3. Do you catch up with friends and sit? Next time you are see­ing friends, choose to catch up with them by tak­ing a walk or do­ing some­thing ac­tive. 4. Do you al­ways sit to eat? This is a hard one to get around, and is de­pen­dent on the sit­u­a­tion and food. If you are on a lunch break and have a sand­wich, it is pos­si­ble to go for a walk at the same time. Think if this could be ap­pro­pri­ate for you and use it to your ad­van­tage. 5. Are you reg­u­larly talk­ing on the phone while sit­ting down? If so, stand up when you are on the phone. This is sim­ple way to break up the time you spend sit­ting.

ASH­LEY BAVEAS

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