Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Sitting is the New Smoking and I'm Breaking the Habit



According to David Suzuki, an award-winning scientist, environmentalist and broadcaster known for his ability to explain the complexities of the natural sciences in a compelling, understandable manner, the more we connect to nature, the smarter, healthier and happier we are. In fact, he claims getting outside even makes us nicer and more likely to clean up the planet. Unfortunately, most of us spend more than 90 per cent of our days indoors, away from nature.

I recently discovered just how inactive I was/am when I got a device called a FitBit. It tracks steps taken, stairs
climbed, miles walked, calories burned and sleep. Health guides tell us to aim for 10,000 steps a day and on an average day, I only take 4,000 - 5,000. In fact, in the three months I have had this device I have only hit the 10,000 step mark twice and both of those instances where when I took a walk outdoors. 
I spend pretty much all my life in doors. I wake up, get dressed, drive to my office building, work at a desk or sit around a conference table for 8 hours, walk to the parking garage, get in my car, drive home, sit at the dinner table, play on the family room floor or lounge on the couch and then lie down in bed. 
Acoording to the David Suzuki Foundation, SITTING IS THE NEW SMOKING! 
I am not alone. On average, North Americans spend 9.3 hours a day sitting. Researchers conclude that this unprecedented level of inactivity is causing 5.3 million deaths per year – a similar level of mortality to smoking. Getting active outdoors is a simple but effective remedy. 
I don't breathe fresh air except for maybe 4 minutes a day. I am more sedentary than I have ever been. At a time when I am trying to lose 40 pounds. So I am joining two challenges and observing a self-motivated challenge to help me get exercise and get some fresh air. 
First, I am joining in the 30x30 challenge to get outside for 30 minutes a day every day for 30 days in May. This may be during the workday with two 15 minute brisk walks outside, before work taking my dog out in the early morning hours, or afterwork playing with my kids in our yard. 
Second, I am taking the couch-to-5K challenge. I started
yesterday with the training app which leads me in alternating running and walking, increasing the running portion incrementally each week. In 8 weeks, I shoudl be ready to run a 5K - an illusive goal of mine for a while.
Lastly, I am trying to hit 10,000 steps and 10 flight of stairs every day. My activities to meet the two challenges above will surely help me reach this goal. 
I want to be an example to my kids so that they will enjoy being outside and having fun. When I was little, I was always outside exploring. I need to provide a safe environment for them to do the same. So I resolve to get my family out of the cave and to embrace the sun! (or even the rain). How about you?