EXERCISE: You'll have to take deliberate action to overcome the urge to stay still.
EXERCISE: You'll have to take deliberate action to overcome the urge to stay still. Istock

How to keep moving in a world urging you to sit still

Living Naturally with Olwen Anderson

IF you're like most people, you spend much of your day folded into a chair or folded into a car seat.

With your arms in front clutching a steering wheel, or operating a computer.

By the end of the day you could feel like you really haven't moved at all.

Yet exercise is the universal prescription for good health.

With some notable exceptions, most of the time we're encouraged to move. And as you've probably noticed, obesity is a much bigger problem than ever.

Our grandparents didn't have a choice; they had to keep moving.

Most households had only one car, so if you wanted to go shopping, using your legs was the way to get there, then using your arms to carry it all back home.

Dishes were done by hand, and many clothes too. Most folk had a vegetable garden to tend.

All this added up to enough physical activity for most folk to keep their weight under control.

Those same grandparents would probably find it hilarious that our lives are now so inactive that we have to visit special places, fitness centres, to move.

Because modern life makes it all too easy to be motionless.

Let's see. How far did you have to walk to your car for the commute to work?

And at the other end of the drive, how far to your desk?

Hopefully you tore yourself away from the desk at lunchtime, but maybe you ate at your desk.

While you were at work the dishwasher handled the dirty dishes, the washing machine worked too, and even your robotic floor sweeper beetled around.

After the commute home, exhausted, you might have flopped in front of the television until bed.

Not much movement in that day. So what can you do about this design fault with modern life?

Short of getting rid of your car and appliances, of course. Well, maybe you're close enough to ride a bicycle to work.

Or perhaps you make sure you include fitness training in your daily routine.

And you don't get too fussed about parking close to the shops, because you know the walk will do you good.

Maybe your weekends are filled with active pursuits like group sports, or hiking.

But you know, for sure, with the number of labour-saving devices continuing to grow, you'll have to take deliberate action to overcome the urge to stay still.