People tend to be less active as they get older, but the need for physical activity never changes. A supplement in the last AARP bulletin (January/February 2012), featured an article by Elizabeth Pope that discussed why sitting is hazardous to your health.
Everyone knows that exercise is good for them, but most don’t understand that it may be a life or death situation. That makes it sound a little more serious doesn’t it? Everyone is familiar with the term SIDS, but have you ever wondered why there wasn’t a term for premature death in other age groups? Well, there is. Dr. Frank Booth, PhD. coined the term SeDS), which you can probably figure out means Sedentary Death Syndrome. What do you think of that? Dr. Booth started an organization called Researchers against Inactivity-Related Disorders (www.prevention.com/links), which draws attention to something that should mean a lot to us. I hope you will take his work to heart and start thinking about SeDS as it might apply to you.
You wouldn’t think that we would need to take a break from sitting, but it seems that older people are some of the worst offenders. You see older folks sitting everywhere, and at some point you start to accept sitting as a normal part of aging. Technology has literally engineered physical activity out of our daily lives, and we are all suffering the consequences. Today the focus is changing, and a rocking chair on the verandah is no longer an acceptable goal. Ms. Pope mentioned that prolonged sitting actually disrupts the processes that break down fats and sugars in the blood. I didn’t know that. It is lucky for us that there is a cure for this syndrome because lack of exercise is associated with all sorts of debilitating ailments.
The answer, as you already know, is to get moving. Being sedentary may be more hazardous than other well known risk factors, such as smoking, hypertension and heart disease. Even people who are genetically predisposed to certain illnesses can cut the risk of premature death by simply adding exercise to their daily activities. Don’t use the world exercise if it turns you off. Just think in terms of adding movement to your life. Think of movement as exercise. Did you know that shopping can be an aerobic exercise, especially if you stop using escalators and elevators? Find some form of physical activity that you like and are able to do, and make it a part of your routine. Think of ways to keep moving and before you know it, it will be a part of who you are.