Pretoria - Drinking lots of water to encourage more visits to the toilet, putting the phone on the cabinet instead of on your desk, and designating some days to physical housework instead of using household appliances could reduce the health risks posed by a lack of physical activity.
Walking up and down stairs and using public transport, to encourage more physical activity, are also keys to creating a healthier nation.
These activities can greatly reduce the chances of death for South Africans, who have a high burden of non-communicable diseases, some of them fatal.
Dr Tracey Koble-Alexander says these suggestions - along with the introduction of stand-up desks in the workplace - could alleviate the risks of obesity and other diseases caused by a lack of activity.
“We need to encourage people to get off their chairs,” the Medical Research Council research unit member told a health symposium in Grahamstown on Thursday.
Changing workplace culture was important, she said. “Taking walking meetings could also make the required difference.”
Sitting, she said, had been identified as an independent cause of heart disease. “There is something called sitting too much.”
This affected people of all levels of activity, no matter whether they exercised regularly or not.
“The next posture is the best,” was the slogan she said should be encouraged among all people – next meaning the next position you could be in was better than the one you were in now. This also meant standing up from a sitting position, rocking and shaking the body instead of just standing, she said.
“Even lifting a leg on to a ledge while standing is better. People must keep on moving, fidgeting. They should also encourage healthier lifestyles for children.”
Fidgeting while sitting at a computer, standing while they watching TV, and encouraging children to run around could only be good for the children in the long run.
“Parents feel overwhelmed when they come back from work. The easiest solution is plonking children in front of the TV”, but playing with them developed their physical strength and helped their mental and emotional development, she said. - Pretoria News