There is a really interesting yet frightening video on You Tube called 23 and 1/2 hours: What is the single best thing we can do for our health? I’m not usually bothered about such things. I’m aware I don’t do enough exercise and eat too much of the ‘wrong’ things yet I’ve been that way for as long as I can remember. I’ve also been around for some time and statistically with every day I live I am more likely to live longer.
I saw it as part of a presentation that was given at an Institute of Customer Service event upon in Ratho just outside Edinburgh at the International climbing Arena. The speaker was Graeme, the Director of Operations for Edinburgh Leisure. The arena was one of his sites and clearly he had an interest in such things.
The key message is that being sedentary is bad or your health. Lazing about on the couch is a killer. Low physical activity contributes to two and a half thousand extra deaths in Scotland per year. Inactive people spend thirty eight per cent more days in hospital than active people while those that watch television for six hours per day will live five years less on average.
These are stark figures and the way that the video put them across was startling and effective. I sat up and listened. I thought about my own sedentary lifestyle and the aches and pains that I feel when I get out of bed, or get into bed or in fact at any other time.
Thankfully there is hope. The message is a positive one. I can make a difference and roll back the inevitable decline. You can too. The title of the video gives it away in that all you need to do is commit half an hour out of the twenty four that you have each day to some form of activity. Anything will do as long as it requires a little effort and raises your heart beat.
Half an hour isn’t that long. It’s only just over two per cent of my day. Surely it wouldn’t be that hard to commit that amount of time to saving my future. Of course it is not that simple. I sleep for eight hours, commute for three, sit in meetings for at least six every day and so my available slot becomes smaller and smaller. Thirty minutes is probably a quarter of the discretionary time that I have available and I don’t know that I am disciplined enough to want to give that up. It would also eat into the precious time that I have at home.
There is an answer though. Why don’t I spend some of the time when I am at work being active. Instead of sitting in a meeting room talking to people, why don’t we go for a walk? Taking notes may be a problem yet there are some lovely woodland paths around County Hall. I could also take the stairs rather than use the lift.
I was the next speaker up after Graeme. I spoke for half an hour and took the opportunity to walk briskly up and down in front of the audience.
You can find the video here.