Too Much or Not Enough?

26 October 2018

A Kin's point of view:

A recent article in the journal of environmental research and public health got me thinking about how we measure healthy behaviour.

The authors: Mcgregor, Carson, Palarea-Albaladejo, Dall, Tremblay and Chastin studied how adults (18-79) allocate their time in a 24 hour period and measured the effect on clinically relevant bio markers like BMI, heart rate and blood chemistry. Their results support the substantial and growing understanding that moderate to vigorous activity (MVPA), like running, swimming and skipping, is significantly associated with better physical and mental health.

That's not a huge surprise to anyone who follows the Canadian Heart and stroke foundations guidelines. What I appreciated most about this article was how the authors commented on the composition of a healthy day. The public is often given guidelines to follow like 150 minutes a week, 8 hours a day, and so on. This article drew attention to what might seem obvious to some and that is that your decision to engage in one hour of healthy behavior is 1/24th of the total time you have in a day. A typical 9-5 job will take a minimum of 8 hours of your day (I guess if you sleep at the office or work from home) plus the holy grail/pipe dream of 8 hours of sleep, leaving you with 8 hours to do everything else you need to do. For many of us, that's commuting (~30 minutes one way according to CBC and stats Canada), making and consuming meals as well as the plethora of other, often unhealthy, distractions and modern conveniences.

My point is that it's important to take into consideration all of what we do has an impact on our health. Commuting, sitting at a desk and yes, sleeping (don't take this as me saying sleep is bad since it's probably one of the most important things most people don't get enough of) are low movement or sedentary behaviors. So for most people, 2/3rds of their day are almost completely made up of sedentary behavior. It isn't always enough or realistic to make up for this with a weekly exercise class. Furthermore, if you're spending that much of your time doing something; one, I hope you enjoy it and two, if you don't and you don't like exercising; then it is extremely unlikely that you will be meeting health recommendations. The vast majority of Canadians don't meet these guidelines. For children it's even worse as 9 out of 10 fall short of what's recommended. Sounds bleak? I didn't even mention diet....

A kinesiologist can help you and your children make healthy changes. They can help you set and achieve fitness and lifestyle goals to make movement a bigger and more enjoyable part of your day. Kinesiologists also have the expertise to provide exercise programs tailored to counteract the deleterious effects on your body that working and commuting can have.

If you would like to see the benefits of kinesiology first hand, try our find a kin feature that will connect you with a kinesiologist in your area.