By: Blonde Two
With the staggering news that children born in the UK today have a lower life expectancy than the generation above them, it really is time we all started to look at the way we conduct our daily lives. Being active perhaps isn’t the same thing as being fit but it can make a big difference. This is a big problem, the solutions to which represent huge changes for most of us. For this week’s Tuesday’s Ten, we have nibbled at the sides of the issue and take a look at inventions and concepts that have perhaps contributed to us being less active. There are some messages here, for us as much as for you…
- Pre-cooked meals
Not only is processed food bad for us in terms of sugar, salt and additives, buying sauces, pies, puddings etc instead of cooking them ourselves means less time standing up and moving around. Unless of course you use that time to take your kids out for a walk.
2. The daily commute
Cars are wonderful in so many ways and indeed, they can whisk us and our families away to beautiful outdoor spaces but there was a time when we all lived closer to our place or work… and could walk or cycle there.
3. Central heating
I think Scrooge must be somewhere in my genealogy because I am really reluctant to turn my heating on and often sit, nearly shivering at my desk after a sea swim. The good thing about this mean approach is that, from time to time, I have to get up and move around unless I want Mr B2 to come home and find a typing icicle in my chair.
Again another useful device, this time for communication, but how many times have you emailed (or messaged) someone else in the same building as you when it would have done you far more good to get up and walk to see them? We have lots of stairs here so I will admit that my kettle is definitely black.
5. Running hot water
‘Steady on Blonde Two!’ I hear you say, we all like to be clean. I like to be clean too but I know from camping trips that having to find, carry and heat your own water uses a fair few calories and muscles. One of the reasons I tend to lose weight when I am camping is that the daily tasks require more energy than they do at home.
The average person in Britain spends 27 hours in front of the television per week but just 90 minutes being active. Coupled with the odd fact that we spend over three hours on the loo each week, it is obvious that we have a bit of an imbalance on our hands. (I apologise for having no statistics for people who watch TV on the loo or people who go to the loo outside!)
7. Health and Safety
From leading oversees expeditions to walking solo on the hills, it goes without saying that health and safety should be part of your planning for any activity but there can be no doubt that the increase, in recent decades, of the amount of paperwork, bureaucracy and litigation threats that accompany it have put people off getting other people active.
8. The supermarket
We still use supermarkets, I expect everybody does but, having tried a semi-return to the high street and felt the weight of a bag of potatoes on my back, I can honestly say that high street shopping is better for me.
9. The tumble dryer
I love hanging washing out on the line. In fact, I am off to do that in just a minute. While I am out in the garden I will, no doubt, also find a couple of jobs to do and get a little bit more activity in. Tumble dryers are great in a ‘no knickers’ emergency but, even if you don’t have a garden, hanging washing out to dry does require more action than shoving it straight in a machine does.
10. The internet
I have deliberately left this one until last because, although screen time is not often active time, for me the internet has been an encouragement to Get Outside far more than it has stopped me doing so. Like any tools, it is how you use this one that really matters.
I am not suggesting in any way that you go home now and get rid of your boiler, television, mobile devices and car. Or that you suddenly start baking pies and walking them around the high street in an attempt to sell them. However, hopefully this post has helped you to think a bit about your lifestyle and where a few changes will help you to build up your activity levels (and those of your family). I know it has got me thinking!