MITCHELL'S MUSINGS: Getting in shape, sort of

I may be a little late, I was busy celebrating Procrastination Week by the way, ahem, but there’s some stuff worth sharing from the people at ParticipACTION.

You remember them, the 60-year-old Swede being in better shape than the 30-year-old Canuck TV commercials back in the 70s, I believe. I don’t think that’s still the case but we’re probably only a little closer so there’s still room for improvement.

In fact,  the people at ParticipACTION (which by the way was established in 1971 to try and get Canadians off their butts and re-launched in 2007 for the same reason) are taking the week of April 7-11, ahem, to encourage us slackers to sneak in 10 minutes of exercise during their workday activities (more like workday inactivities).

You see, Canadian adults (doesn’t say anything about Swedes) spend 9.5 hours per day being sedentary, and most of it is spent sitting at work (guilty, as charged) or commuting to and from work (luckily, not so much).

And, of course, this is not a good thing, as ParticipACTION tells us it can increase the risk of diabetes and heart attack, and causes high blood pressure, elevated cholesterol, sore backs and foggy brains.

Um, suddenly as I sit here writing this I don’t feel so well. And maybe I should make an appointment with my doctor because I don’t know about the other stuff but I’m pretty sure I have foggy brain 24/7 and before this minute I didn’t even know there was such a thing.

However ParticipACTION isn’t just about scare tactics, they are offering helpful solutions to those of us who spend way too much time on our derrieres, both at work and at home.

I put some of it down to technology because in my line of work you can do a heck of a lot of it from the comfort of your chair in front of a computer screen.

No more cutting or pasting of copy or headlines (boy that dates me), or checking on the darkroom (there ain’t one), you could probably  do a full day without getting up and physically talking to anyone if you wanted to thanks to e-mail and texts and Facebook and Twitter and.......

However I still like to talk to people and believe a newsroom is still a team and real, honest face-to-face communication is a good thing (well, except when I don’t) so I don’t do this stuff from home or barricade myself in my office.........however it feels that way sometimes as I’m handcuffed to my computer most of the time and sedentary is what I am for way too much of the day.

So, ParticipACTION is suggesting even 10 minutes of exercise during the workday can not only break up time spent sitting but can even increase fitness levels.

They also suggest standing up during meetings or while on the phone, sitting on an exercise ball instead of a chair, taking regular breaks to stretch, starting a lunchtime walking group and/or grabbing coffee or lunch a few extra blocks away.

Other suggestions include drinking extra water so you have to walk to the bathroom more often and even parking further away from work and walking to and from work a little longer each day.

All decent ideas, although we have our own parking lot here at the paper and I’m not sure how Buy Low would feel about me parking there every day, and, of course getting up a little earlier each day has always been a problem for me.

However, to show I’m not hopeless I’ve already  incorporated a couple of these things into my routine because I knew I was high on the sedentary charts. I always go for a walk just before lunch, mostly to clear my head (there’s that foggy brain thing again) and/or to get a lottery ticket, and I already try to park far away when I get groceries to force myself to get some walking in (although when I get four bags worth of stuff instead of the one I was planning to get I inevitably curse on the way back) so I’m on my way, sort of.

And, apparently, 10 minutes here and 10 minutes there can make a difference, so celebrate Sneak It in Week (even if it’s a week late) every week and stick it to the Swedes, like we did at the Olympics. Ha.


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