You may be diligent about watching what you eat, exercising regularly and taking time for yourself, but as it turns out, that might not be enough. That’s the verdict from a recent study that found sedentary people, even those who make time to exercise regularly, are still at risk for chronic diseases.
“If people spend the majority of their time sitting, even with regular periods of exercise, they are still at greater risk for chronic diseases,” says John Thyfault, assistant professor in the departments of Nutrition and Exercise Physiology and Internal Medicine at the University of Missouri. “If people can add some regular movement into their routines throughout the day, they will feel better and be less susceptible to health problems. In the long term, they may not see big changes in the mirror, but they will prevent further weight gain.”
Specifically, it was discovered so-called sedentary people who get limited amounts of activity were at a much higher risk for chronic conditions like type 2 diabetes and nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD). For the record, an inactive lifestyle is defined as getting fewer than 5,000 steps a day, whereas those who have high levels of activity get over 10,000 steps a day. 10,000 steps a day is roughly equivalent to 8km of walking. Do you make the cut?
If you don’t, take heed: “Everyone should try to take at least 10,000 steps a day,” says Scott Rector, another author of the study. “It doesn’t have to happen all at once, but 500 to 1,000 steps every few hours is a good goal. Small changes can increase the number of steps people take in their daily routines. Changes might include taking the stairs instead of the elevator, walking to a co-worker’s office rather than calling or planning time for short walks throughout the day.”
I know, I know — fitting 8mi of walking into your day and finding time for even more exercise than you’re already doing sounds daunting. But you can do it! For the sake of your health, you kind of have. So stop reading and get moving!