It's been estimated that the average Brit spends 51 hours and 44 minutes seated during a typical week.
As modern life gets more hectic we are getting more sedentary. Jobs keep us pinned to our desks, glued to our seats and bogged down by deadlines. Not only that but we use cars more, can order pretty much anything from our sofas and spend more of our leisure time looking at screens. We know that walking is good for us but we do less of it.
Ironically, as modern life strives to generate more and more efficiencies we spend more time being sedentary.
In Cornwall the irony seems even more dramatic. Our county has some of the most stunning scenery in the world. Our coast path surely offers the best walking routes anywhere. People are increasingly taking advantage of connectivity to up sticks and move to Cornwall, hoping for a better work life balance. Unfortunately, the up-stickers often find that work still gets in the way of making the most of their new surroundings.
Is walking worth prioritising?
Walking is a better form of exercise than you might think. It can improve your mental and physical health, has been shown to improve our quality of life, It can be as social as you choose, allows us to connect with nature, facilitates open talking, helps us think more clearly and can actually make us more efficient. I am a GP and have prescribed medication for 20 years but I cannot think of any prescribed drug that has the potential to help on so many levels.
'But I don’t have time'
In 2002 the World Health Organisation highlighted that 2 millions deaths a year worldwide could be attributed to a sedentary lifestyle. no doubt that our time is precious but so is our health. Allowing yourself to enjoy a walk is a healthy indulgence. When I speak to patients they almost invariably recognise that a walk makes them feel better, clears their mind and helps their overall efficiency. It's a sound investment so get your boots on!
10 efficient ways to increase walking in your life
1. Walk when you take a phone call
2. Consider arranging walking meetings - they have been shown to facilitate conversation and new ideas. Lots of meetings don't need to be around a table.
3. Use adverts on TV as a prompt to get up and move
4. Standing desks may feel a bit American but they have been shown to be an effective way of countering sedentary disease
5. Go for a walk to help make a decision or to get inspiration
6. Use a reminder on your phone to get up every 30 minutes
7. Set yourself a walking challenge - walk the entire Cornish Coast path in bite size chunks over the course of 2 years?
8. Get the children involved and keep them interested with geo-caching
9. Choose a walking holiday (can be inexpensive if you plan your own)
10. Measure your progress by monitoring your time, heart rate and length of recovery for a set walk.