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The other silent epidemic

– By Ryan Monastra (Physiotherapist and Director at Back in Action)

Last month I shared with you about the silent epidemic in our society of negativity and how one of the four key secrets to living a long and healthy life was a positive mindset. Today I want to let you know of another silent epidemic. It’s not a major problem. And true to the nature of what I shared last month – it’s not permanent, nor is it global. And it’s easily changed by you and by me. The epidemic is the inactivity epidemic.

And I didn’t put it first for a good reason. Mindset is more important. With a positive mindset you’re already moving.

There’s some scary stats around if you care to go looking, of the cost of inactivity. Not just the financial cost, but also the misery cost, the social cost, and a host of others associated with not getting ourselves moving enough. Diabetes rates sit at around 1 in 5 NZ’ers presently, but the rate of pre-diabetes is estimated somewhere closer to 1 in 4 – meaning that at some point in the not too distant future, 1 in 4 of us will have diabetes. Heart disease is equally as scary. I remember learning a word in school certificate when I first explored this disease as a fifteen year old. The word used to describe heart disease in western nations was ubiquitous, meaning: everyone has it. It’s lucky I swing towards optimism.

But if you look at the research around all the major killers in health – Heart disease, Stroke, Diabetes, Cancer, Suicide (as a symptom of depression), there is a clear and consistent helper. Increasing physical activity levels has a limiting effect on all these diseases. And yes you did read that correctly. Despite unashamedly selling exercise, the truth is, what we need most, is simply to move more. Well to move more and sit less. In fact those two exact variables have been independently linked to mortality by researchers in Loughborough in the UK (which is just down the road from where I lived for a couple of years while I was over there).

So if there’s one thing you can do today that will have a lasting impact on your health, having already mastered a positive mindset, then it would be – set your habits to fidget a bit more, go out for that walk, do those few squats, throw away that remote. Do anything. Anything. Anything that gets you moving. The best activity is the type you enjoy – if you read this column last time it probably won’t surprise you to know that humans are motivated towards pleasure/positivity – so find some activity that you enjoy – and in the words of some big gear company “Just do it”.

If you need any further advice on how to get moving a bit more, just chat to any trusted health professional. If they’re worth their fee they should be able to give you some helpful tips that don’t cost the earth, and will save you plenty that’s valuable.

There’s two more keys to a long and healthy life. Stay tuned. Or give me a call!

Read: The silent Epidemic