Exercise is essential for good health - we know that and we are aware of its benefits for both our physical and mental wellbeing. But, how can we make small changes to our routines to increase our movement? And do those small changes really make a difference?
Dr Jeremy N Morris died at the age of 99. He was the first person to demonstrate - as long ago as 1953 - that it's not so much athletic activity that benefits health, but simply the level of physical activity, even when it is just part of everyday life.In his first study, Dr Morris compared the health of London bus conductors who worked on "flat" buses and those who worked on double deckers. The conductors all lived in comparable circumstances, with similar family backgrounds and dietary habits. He found that the conductors on the double decker buses who walked up and down 600 steps per day to check passengers' tickets, had half as many heart attacks as their colleagues!
Later, Dr Morris demonstrated similar results among postal workers, comparing those walking and those at a desk job.Even housework counts as movement! In a study of cleaning women in Boston, researchers found that the simple effort of performing their jobs qualified as exercise and their health significantly improved after a few months. They experienced weight loss, reduction of body fat and blood pressure.
So it seems that even a little exercise has its benefits; taking the stairs instead of the escalator, walking to the station or parking a little further from the supermarket can make significant improvements to our health! Isn't that great news?
What other ways can you think of to get your body moving during your regular daily tasks?