Do you spend all day at work sitting at your desk? Many Canadians do. The average Canadian office worker sits for a staggering 10 hours each day.
Add in those of us who sit for long periods when driving or travelling, watching TV or sitting at a computer, and we have a nation that spends considerably more time sitting than moving.
Now add in the number of seniors who spend most of their day sitting down, and the numbers grow even further.
On Your Feet Canada Day
Friday 28th April is On Your Feet Canada day. It aims to encourage people to sit down less and move about more, and raise funds for charity in the process. While primarily aimed at those in an office or work environment, it’s an initiative we genuinely support. Keeping our Residents mobile and active is a pillar of our Preserving Independence programme here at The Manor Villages Canada.
Why being sedentary is a problem
Sitting down is not very good for any of us, what ever age we are. Excessive and prolonged sitting increases the risk of obesity, heart disease, Type 2 diabetes, some types of cancer, and developing mental health issues.
Sitting for long periods is thought to slow your metabolism down, which in turn affects your body’s ability to regulate your blood pressure, blood sugars and to break down body fat.
Move more, sit less
Recent research suggests that exercising for 60 minutes a day can offset the negative effects of sitting down for too long. Even taking short breaks every 30 minutes can help:
“Breaking up sitting time engages your muscles and bones, and gives all our bodily functions a boost – a bit like revving a car’s engine.”
Professor David Dunstan of the Baker IDI Heart and Diabetes Institute, Melbourne, Australia
Moving more for seniors
Seniors are the age group most likely to spend 10 hours or more a day sitting down, which makes them the most sedentary age group. Reduced or limited mobility contributes to this by making movement more difficult and potentially tiring, and this in turn can erode the most important factor for getting up – motivation.
Reasons to get moving
When you’re sitting down and comfortable, you need a reason to get up and get going. At every Manor Village Life Centre, our Activity and Lifestyle team offer our senior Residents a varied program of activities that combine physical and social events, and get everyone moving about.
Whether they are getting on the bus to go shopping or on an outing, or joining friends for lunch in the Dining Room, our Residents are often on the move. They will walk from their Suite to a matinee movie, enjoy a live performance or singalong, or join a game of cards in the lounge. There are always team members available to give a helping hand if required, and usually a friend or two to accompany them along the corridor or out around the garden.
10,000 steps a day
If you’ve got one of those exercise bands that records the number of steps you take, you’ll have realised just how many of the recommended 10,000 steps a day you can achieve by simply walking about. That’s why our range of activities are so effective; even the shortest of walks adds up over the course of a full day. (Goodness knows how many miles our dedicated and caring team walk in a day – maybe we’ll check this out for a future blog!)
Senior exercise, stretch and yoga classes
Many office-based workers may struggle to achieve 60 minutes a day of exercise, but for our Residents, it becomes part of their day. Our structured exercise classes are tailored to the needs and abilities of the participants, and offer an effective ‘workout’. Some of these exercises may be chair-based to reduce pressure on joints, but rest assured, it’s still highly beneficial exercise that keeps our Residents fitter and active for longer.
What will you do to keep moving?
At our Canadian offices, we’ll be encouraging all our hard-working staff to “Wiggle it. Waggle it. Just don’t sit on it”, as the On Your Feet Canada slogan says!