HCF Fit and Well : HCF Health Agenda - January 2017
WHAT'S CHANGED FOR THE BETTER? On the flipside to our increasingly sedentary lifestyles, we have made progress in our understanding of how best to stay healthy and fit. "This year is the 20-year anniversary of the first physical activity recommendations, which have since evolved to look at not just exercise, but all of the activities we perform in daily living, such as housework, gardening, walking and sitting less, as well as strength training, and how together all of that affects our health," says Dr Josephine Chau, who works at the University of Sydney's Prevention Research Collaboration. Workplace 'move more, sit less' interventions such as walking meetings and sit-stand desks are another positive change. "This movement began around the late 2000s, when people started talking about the possible harms of sitting for extended periods of time," says Dr Chau. Another milestone? The advent of fitness apps and trackers, which provide real-time feedback and spur us to achieve our chosen activity goals in the short term. "They can be very educational, putting activity levels and food intake into perspective," says Aston. FUTURE TRENDS IN FITNESS The traditional machine-centric gym is being gradually replaced by dynamic movement training that mimics more natural movement patterns. "Fitness is edging far more towards functional training that uses your own body weight and different apparatus to facilitate that," affirms Aston. Prompted by the growing body of research into the harmful impacts of sitting (dubbed 'the new smoking'), we can also expect to see more of an office design trend called 'activity based working'. "It involves a campus- style layout where employees don't have set desks and technology allows them to move around the office to work in different spaces," explains Chau. It's also likely that the focus will shi away from long blocks of structured exercise towards more achievable short bursts of activity. "Even exercising for 10 or 15 minutes a day greatly moves the dial on a whole host of chronic diseases," notes Raichlen. Think holistic "There's no caveman workout, but we do know the lifestyle of the hunter-gatherer includes a lot of varied activity, so there's endurance activity, high-intensity activity and upper and lower body activity," Raichlen says. The takeaway? Aim for a varied, whole-body approach to fitness. Tune in to your body We're evolutionarily geared to evaluate the costs versus benefits of exerting ourselves, explains Dr Caldwell, so it makes sense to choose exercise that naturally appeals. "If running is miserable for you, find something that feels better, because your body is probably designed for something physical that you find more enjoyable," she says. Seek movement Before microwave meals, cars and emails, preparing food, getting places and even communication required effort. Look for ways to introduce micro-bursts of activity into your day -- think walking to the grocery store instead of driving (modern 'foraging'), taking the stairs or walking to a colleague's desk instead of emailing them. Fitness takeaways from our ancestors helpful advice For fitness tips and workout programs download the free HCF Get Fitter app available on Apple and Android.
HCF Health Agenda - Issue 02
HCF Health Agenda - April 2017