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  • Walk your way to better health - simple solutions for the sedentary lifestyle

Walk your way to better health - simple solutions for the sedentary lifestyle

How much time do you spend sitting each day? For most people, the majority of the day involves sitting: Sitting on your commute to work, sitting at your desk, sitting as you eat dinner with your family, sitting as you relax after a long day of work in front of the TV.

Sitting is a part of life, but it shouldn’t consume your entire life. Even a small amount of daily activity can make a dramatic difference in your health.


Walk your way to better healthYou have probably heard of the sedentary lifestyle before. Most of us are sedentary participants because of how our modern world functions. As described above, we have to sit for the majority of the day.

It takes a great amount of effort to start moving and stay moving. But this effort could be one factor that transforms your health.

Yes, changes in our society are not helping with the need for daily activity. Researchers confirm that just a few decades ago, in 1970, two out of 10 people participated in a job with light activity, like a desk job. Three out of 10 people worked high-intensity jobs, including farming, manufacturing, and construction.

Household computer use rose from 15 per cent to 69 per cent between 1989 and 2009. By 2003, close to six out of 10 working adults used a computer at their job. More than nine out of 10 children used computers at school.1

Technology is a wonderful thing, but it makes it easy for us to sit and observe. It takes motivation and commitment to unplug and start moving. Public health officials state that we need up to 150 minutes of exercise per week to offset this new sedentary imbalance in our culture. Regular activity can prevent and manage serious chronic health conditions, including obesity, cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, and some cancers.2

Sitting for eight hours per day can shorten your life considerably compared to those who sit for less than three hours per day. For this reason, standing desks have become a popular fixture in many modern offices to promote activity. The message is clear: It’s time to get moving.


One reason that it is difficult for many people to start daily activity is because they don’t know where to begin. The good news is that daily exercise is easier than many fitness fanatics make it out to be.


You can build up vigorous walking to 3 to 5 miles per day with a fast, purposeful stride. Pump your hands from belt to chest level with each stride. As your fitness increases, add wrist or ankle weights. This activity may seem simple, but daily commitment is the key. Boston University researchers confirm that walking just 6000 steps a day, or 3 miles, can improve mobility in those with or at risk for knee osteoarthritis.3



1. Mayo Clin Proc. Dec 2010; 85(12): 1138–1141. doi: 10.4065/mcp.2010.0444
2. US Department of Health and Human Services 2008 physical activity guidelines for Americans. Washington, DC: US Department of Health and Human Services; 2008-2009.
3.“Daily Walking and The Risk of Incident Functional Limitation in Knee OA: An Observational Study.” Daniel K. White, Catrine Tudor-Locke, Yuqing Zhang, Roger Fielding, Michael LaValley, David T. Felson, K. Douglas Gross, Michael C. Nevitt, Cora E. Lewis, James Torner and Tuhina Neogi. Arthritis Care and Research; Published Online: June 12, 2014 (DOI: 10.1002/acr.22362).