November 22, 2017

Lifestyle Habits That Ruin Your Health


Sitting all day at your desk is robbing you of your energy, vitality and health

Sitting all day at your desk is robbing you of your energy, vitality and health


There are many lifestyle habits that ruin are health and are slowly but surely making us more and more sickly. Our lives seem to be packed full; we are forever busy and ‘stressed’. Somehow as our lives have got more complicated and busier we seem to be have physically got slower and less active.

Habit 1  Not Moving Enough

We take the kids to school in cars, we drive to work or catch public transport, we drive to the supermarket or get our shopping delivered, we go our workplaces and sit all day tapping away on our keyboards at our computers.

We don’t even get up anymore to talk to someone at another desk but send an instant message or email instead where as in years gone by we would have walked over to his or her desk or office to ask a question or discuss a problem. All this lovely technology has made life better in so many ways but in so many other ways has robbed us of vital health enhancing opportunities for movement.

A survey by The World Health Organisation has Britain as one of the most sedentary populations on earth. Alarmingly, 63.3% of the British population fails to meet the recommended level of physical activity. We are worse than our US cousins who have 40.5% of the population inactive. Inactivity is defined as not meeting the following criteria: 30 minutes of moderate activity , such as brisk walk 5 times per week, or 20 minutes of vigorous activity 3 times per week. How much exercise do you take each week?

Human beings just were not designed to be this inactive. And as a result our health and wellbeing is suffering.

Physical activity is necessary to stimulate the body’s own natural maintenance and repair. It is vital to ensuing our body maintains its natural balance, or homeostasis. Lack of exercise is a leading cause of the rise in diabetes, heart disease, strokes, depression and cancer to name but a few diseases where research has shown that there is a higher risk of suffering with these conditions if you lead a sedentary lifestyle.

Studies have shown that lack of physical activity is responsible for 5.3 million of the 57 million deaths that occurred in 2008.


For many people the thought of 3 sessions of vigorous exercise 3 times a week is just to big a leap. Some people deem even 30 minutes of moderate exercise too much effort.

As a result many people keep putting it off until they ‘have more time’ or life deals them a serious wake up call like an admission to hospital with a health scare like chest pain or cancer investigations.

As a nurse I have witnessed on may occasions people suddenly finding the resolve to make life changes when faced with life threatening illness.  Yet in reality it should not take us reaching that critical point before we do something. Rather I believe we have to learn to integrate new healthier habits into our everyday life. That means taking tiny steps everyday towards a healthier happier lifestyle. Simply finding and taking more opportunities to move through out our day can make huge differences to our physical and mental wellbeing.

A friend of mine, Kevin Berminham, a coach suggests that we ‘Think Big, Start Small and Start Now’ and this strategy is perfect for implementing healthier lifestyle habits.

Some of the Many Benefits of Exercise

•              Boosts creative thinking stimulating ideas.

•              Boosts your mood and stabilizes mood swings

•              Boosts your sex drive (a study found that women who exercise 3x per week have sex more often, achieve greater arousal and better orgasms as a result and men have less erectile dysfunction). Suddenly going for to that aerobics class seems like a good idea!

•              Better sleep. The US National sleep Foundation say that exercise promotes better quality sleep, plus you are more likely to fall asleep quicker too. A good nights sleep is an essential part of being resilient.

•              Helps maintain good bowel function. A healthy bowel is keep to good health and exercise helps move everything along the digestive tract.

•              Stimulates your circulation and strengthens your heart.

•              Boosts your immune system by stimulating your lymphatic system.

•              Helps with building good bone strength particularly vital in women

•              Boosts the production of ‘feel good hormones’ endorphins

•              Regular exercise reduces your risk of many chronic diseases such as diabetes, heart attacks, strokes, and cancer.

•              Regular exercise normalizes hormone function in conditions like Polycystic Ovary Syndrome and Pre menstrual      tension.

•              Lowers the levels of ‘bad’ cholesterol in the blood

•              Maintains lean muscle tissue, muscle tissue uses more calories than fatty tissue

Here are some suggestions of ways to integrate more movement into your life 

1.           Take the stairs when ever possible. Tough at first, you will probably puff like a steam engine at first but it does get easier

2.           Stand where possible.

Study by British Heart Foundation 2010 suggested that women who sit for more than 6 hours per day are 37% more likely to die prematurely than those who sit for just 3 hours a day. I once visited a health call centre where the nurses manning the phones stood up to take the calls. The desks could be raised to any height. It meant better posture, better communication skills, and better health. Brilliant idea. How about standing on the train to work?

3.          Holding meetings standing up or organise walking meetings.

It will make sure they are timely and more productive.

4.           Use the ad breaks on TV to get up and stretch, do a few squats, lunges even jog to the toilet and back.

It will help get your circulation going.

5.           Don’t fancy the gym?

Then get creative in your thinking and try some voluntary work at weekends. Near me you can join in with the National Trust clearing paths on the local heath and also helping pull up invasive non-native plants that have taken over local woodlands. Much better than the boring gym and as an added you will get to meet people too. This will help with the C (Connect) of B.O.U.N.C.E Model of resilience as well as the N (nurture)

6.           Get off the bus or tube at an earlier stop and walk the last 30 minutes to work each morning.

If you go at a good pace that’s your 30 minutes of moderate exercise 5 times a week sorted.

7.           Think twice before using the car, especially at the weekends.

Is it possible to walk to the pub, catch the bus into town, or walk to a friend’s house then share a lift to where ever you are both going? Walking 30-60 minutes daily will help you loose weight and burn off excess stress hormones.

8.           Taking the kids to school in the car?

Try parking at a friend’s house that lives walking distance from school and walking the kids to the school together. Not only will you feel better but also it will relieve some of the traffic congestion that builds up around school entrances.

9.           At lunchtime take your packed lunch to the park instead of eating it at your desk.

Even on a cold day its worth it for the health benefits of the fresh air, the exercise, the change in your posture by taking a break from your computer screen plus its more hygienic.. Our computer keyboards harbour all manner of germs from the debris of past meals that have dropped onto them.

10.       Rather than watching the TV with the family in the evening try playing an interactive game like charades, wii fit or twister

11.       Find an exercise class in your area that appeals.

These days there are classes for all shapes, sizes, and abilities. Pay in advance and you are more committed to going than if you pay as you go.

12.       Housework burns calories and gets your house cleaner and tidier.

It may not be the most fun job in the world but you can make it more fun by putting on some music and dance as you vacuum, dust, or tidy.

What simple measures can you put in place this week that will mean you move more and become healthier and happier?

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