Twenty minutes of activity a day in your 70s can prevent heart disease in your 80s

21 February 2022

A new study has found that just 20 minutes a day of moderate to vigorous activity in your 70s can half the risk of suffering from heart disease in your 80s. Researchers at the University of Padua and the University of Ferrara, both in Italy, reviewed health data from a sample of 2500 people aged 65 or older, over the course of 20 years, or until they died. They found that, on average, increased physical activity was associated with lower rates of cardiovascular disease (CVD). This association between increased physical activity and the reduced risk of CVD is already well established, however, little is known about the impact of increasing physical activity later in life.

The study found that those who undertook 20-40 minutes of moderate to vigorous intensity physical activity in their early 70s (aged 70-75) saw the greatest benefit and were significantly less likely to develop heart disease. The risk was only marginally lower at the age of 75, and no lower at the age of 80-85, suggesting that improving physical activity earlier into retirement is where you will gain the largest positive impact. These findings reinforce the idea of “better late than never” when it comes to physical activity, but also show the earlier you start, the better.

This does not mean that there is no point to increasing your physical activity in your 80s, as there are countless benefits associated with increasing physical activity later in life. For example, increasing bone density, maintaining a healthy weight and keeping you mentally alert.

While these risk reductions were strongest amongst men, the researchers also emphasised that: “Women doing more physical activity had consistently lower incidence rates of almost all cardiovascular outcomes”. So, for both men and women, being physically active is an effective way to reduce your risk of CVD.

Although moderate-to-vigorous intensity physical activity may sound daunting, this study pointed to activities such as walking, fishing and bowls as moderate activity, and activities such as gardening, cycling, dancing and swimming as vigorous activity. This means that just by going for a short walk for 20-40 minutes every day, you could be actively reducing your risk of developing heart disease.

In a linked editorial, researchers explained the mechanisms behind how physical activity reduces the risk of CVD. It improves arterial blood flow by reducing the thickness of the blood and reduces the chance of blood clots forming, but most importantly, “the favourable effect of [physical activity] may be simply explained by its capability of slowing down the atherosclerosis process through a better control of blood pressure, blood glucose level, and lipid profile.”

They also added that “movement is medicine, and that even a small amount of [physical activity] may confer beneficial effects in older people, but if undertaken early rather than late.”

Here at KiActiv®, we have worked with many older clients to empower them to self-manage their health and improve their physical activity in a personalised way. Indeed, for many older adults, physical activity is something that is often feared due to lack of confidence and risk of injury, and there is a common misconception that for physical activity to be valuable it must be intense. As such, understanding that physical activity is more than just exercise and sport, and that every move matters, is vital for empowering effective self-management.

So, if you want to make the change to a healthier lifestyle, the more movement you can incorporate into your everyday routine, the more you will be doing to reduce your risk of developing CVD as you get older. It is never too late to start being active, but the sooner you can the better!

The KiActiv® Team

Managing fatigue for cancer survivors

10 February 2022

Feelings of fatigue are very common symptoms experienced by people who are diagnosed with cancer, but each individual experience with fatigue is different. Often, it gets better after treatment ends, yet up to 30% of cancer survivors experience persistent fatigue for years after diagnosis. This can make returning to feeling ‘normal’ seem like an impossible challenge. Despite this, there are ways to help reduce and manage fatigue in a way that is accessible and appealing to everyone.

A new meta-analysis has found that low to moderate physical activity performed at home can reduce fatigue in cancer survivors who have completed their treatment. The analysis included 11 studies and over 1000 cancer survivors, mostly women with a history of breast cancer:

Home-based physical activity interventions that are of low to moderate intensity reduce fatigue in adult cancer survivors immediately after the intervention, and those favourable effects may even persist for prolonged periods thereafter.”

Physical activity has regularly been shown to play an important role in fatigue management, optimisation of energy levels, and improvement in quality of life for cancer survivors and other conditions that are associated with chronic fatigue. However, rather than simply looking to increase activity levels, the focus for anyone experiencing fatigue should be on optimising physical activity. Techniques such as pacing, activity management, sleep management and relaxation are all key to ensure a steady recovery which gives better control over feelings of fatigue.

Home-based physical activity is an option that is accessible to everyone and does not have to be strenuous, with this research showing that even low intensity physical activity can be extremely beneficial. Each and every movement you make is physical activity, so something as simple as moving more throughout the day can make all the difference. This could include everyday activities such as housework, preparing food and gardening; every move matters. With this understanding, the thought of being physically active is far less daunting.

The analysis also noted that, “Physical activity interventions that used frequent counselling were associated with larger improvements in fatigue than those using no or infrequent counselling.” This highlights the need for appropriate support and guidance when it comes to increasing physical activity levels after a cancer diagnosis. It can be difficult to find the optimum level of physical activity when you are impacted by fatigue and having someone to support you through the process can make finding this level more straightforward and decrease the risk of over-exertion.

Every personal experience of cancer treatment and recovery is different, meaning there is no single approach which suits everyone. This is a challenge that we are looking to address and overcome with KiActiv® Health. The personalised nature of the service puts the client in control and enables them to take responsibility over their own health, set appropriate goals, and go about achieving these in a way which suits their personal context and environment.

At KiActiv® we empower you to optimise your physical activity in the context of your fatigue, lifestyle and preferences. We aim to support you in self-managing your physical activity to benefit your health in a way that suits you, using effective techniques such as pacing. This is fundamental to individuals living with fatigue, where everyone’s symptoms are different, and taking your health into your own hands provides you with a management tool that will benefit your health and quality of life, that can be sustained long-term.

The KiActiv® Team

Every move matters, not just sport & exercise

7 February 2022

The KiActiv® Blog is a space in which we like to offer our views on the latest news regarding all things physical activity, exercise and health. Since our first edition almost 7 years ago, we have evaluated, appraised and critiqued a wide array of articles based on what we know is true with respect to the benefits of physical activity for health. That truth being, that all movement matters. So, it is unsurprising to learn that no article has grabbed our attention quite like this one, posted recently by the Daily Mail. The headline reads, “Want to dodge bone, muscle or joint pain in your 60s? Only vigorous exercise such as running, tennis and swimming will spare you, study claims.” This is a dangerous and damaging message, which at best will put people off movement in its entirety, or at worst could lead to significant injury amongst those that vigorous exercise is inappropriate for.

The shocking headline is based on findings by researchers from the University of Portsmouth, who conducted a study to examine the relationship between musculoskeletal pain and physical activity over the course of 10 years. The study sample consisted of 5,802 adults aged 50+ at baseline, with an average age of 62 years. Participants were asked whether they were troubled by bone, joint, or muscle pain at baseline, and were also asked to self-report physical activity status using a questionnaire. Subsequently, participants were grouped into four activity groups: sedentary, low, moderate, or high. Ten years later, the participants reported pain status again. Statistical analysis revealed that engaging in ‘high’ levels of physical activity at baseline was associated with a reduced risk of developing pain complaints at 10-year follow-up, with no protective effect seen for those who were active at a ‘moderate’ or lower level. For clarity, the ‘high’ physical activity group were those who reported ‘heavy manual work or vigorous leisure activity more than once a week,’ whilst the moderate group were those who reported ‘doing physical work; or engaging in moderate leisure-time activity more than once a week; or engaging in vigorous activity once a week to 1–3 times a month.’

Our first problem lies with the nature of physical activity assessment. When used alone, subjective self-report data should be interpreted with great caution as it is subject to significant recall and social desirability biases. Take this for example, if you had been asked to list every single activity you had completed in the past week, including things such as housework, shopping, or washing the car, the chances are you would miss something out. So, self-reported measurements of physical activity tend to lack accuracy. Secondly, data collection points took place 10 years apart, with no measure of physical activity taken during this time, so changes in physical activity during the 10 years were not accounted for in any way, instead allowing researchers to infer causality from a tiny ‘snapshot’ of each individual’s true physical activity habits. Resultingly, broad classification of individuals into mutually exclusive sedentary, low, moderate, or high activity groups based on a loose assessment of physical activity status which took place 10 years ago, has enabled the researchers to form flawed conclusions regarding the impact of physical activity on pain status.

There are countless articles which highlight the positive health outcomes associated with lower intensities of physical activity, and many of our clients at KiActiv® have seen huge benefits to their lifestyle as a result of improving their daily non-sedentary time or their daily moderate activity, rather than taking up running or another vigorous activity. This is particularly true for many of our older users, whom have found both intrinsic joy and tangible health benefits as a result of increasing the level of general everyday movement in their usual routines. So, not only is there plenty of research to validate the physiological importance of each dimension for our health, we know that multidimensional physical activity works in the real-world. When viewed in this way, physical activity is accessible to everyone, with no barriers to age, surroundings, or health conditions, and can help any individual to make positive changes which suit them best.

The fact that the Daily Mail were able to run with such a staggering headline based off the findings from this study is seriously concerning, however we are by no means questioning its accuracy given the dataset the researchers had to work with. This, instead, is a case of us calling attention to the outdated methodology that remains commonplace in physical activity research studies to date. So, this is our call to arms, and a plea for researchers in this field to consider the dangers of reporting such bold claims based on inaccurate and outdated measures of physical activity, which can have a serious detrimental impact on many lives. Fortunately, the advent of wearable devices enables us to objectively capture an individual’s free-living physical activity habits at all intensities with far more precision than self-report data, thus an approach which correctly utilises these tools will improve the accuracy of conclusions in physical activity research and help shift the narrative away from vigorous exercise being the sole option to improve our health.

The KiActiv® Team

January news update

31 January 2022

KiActiv® is constantly looking for ways to innovate and develop our programmes based on the latest developments in the field of physical activity research. Being guided by the literature not only enables us to continue to adapt internally, but also helps us to highlight the ever-evolving benefits of everyday activity, ensuring that you can fully appreciate the positive impact that your increased activity is having on your health!

As a result, we have collated some of the most interesting, cutting-edge research pieces published this month to help you gain a more comprehensive understanding of everything from your general wellbeing and physical health to your mental and cognitive health

  • Parkinson’s Disease: A new study suggests that those with early-stage Parkinson’s disease who undertake regular physical activity may have less difficulty walking, processing information, and doing daily activities later in life. They also found that each type of physical activity had different effects on the body, with one to two hours of moderate-to-vigorous activity twice a week resulting in a slower decline in balance and walking stability. The study was published in the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology, click here to read the full article.
  • Diabetes:We all know that an increase in physical activity is effective in reducing blood sugar levels, however, a new study has shown that regular physical activity also significantly changes the body’s metabolism, and many of these changes are associated with a lower risk of type 2 diabetes. In addition, the study showed that increased physical activity improves insulin secretion and sensitivity. In type 2 diabetes, cells lose their sensitivity to insulin, so these results highlight why physical activity is crucial for the prevention of the condition. You can read the full study here.
  • Fatigue: How fatigued certain activities make an older person feel can predict the likelihood of death and other health consequences in the near future, according to research published in the Journal of Gerontology: Medical Sciences. However, there is also research showing that increased physical activity can decrease your fatiguability, and it is never too late to start increasing your activity.
  • Heart health: Researchers who studied 25,000 women over 17 years found that post-menopausal women who walk faster are less likely to get heart failure. Those who walked fast (>3mph), compared to casually, were found to be 34% less likely to develop heart failure, even when other factors raising their risk of heart failure, like their weight and alcohol consumption, were taken into account. Click here to read more about the study.
  • Mental Health: Physical activity is regularly used as a way of reducing symptoms of anxiety, but how effective is it? A large-scale study of almost 200,000 cross-country skiers found that being physically active halves the risk of developing clinical anxiety over time. Among women, a higher physical performance (faster skiing) was associated with an increased risk of anxiety compared to slower skiing However, for men, the finishing time of the race did not significantly impact the risk of anxiety. This suggests that leisurely, enjoyable forms of physical activity are effective for reducing anxiety risk. Read more here.

At KiActiv® we always aim to provide our clients with the best advice based off the latest scientific research. We hope this insight into some recent studies can help you when it comes to physical activity and making choices to improve your health.

The KiActiv® Team

Just 10 minutes more moderate to vigorous activity a day could save lives

26 January 2022

We can all find 10-minutes a day to move more, whether that is between work meetings or taken from the time you would usually spend watching TV in the evenings. What if we told you that finding just that small amount of time would be enough to increase your lifespan and reduce the risk of dying?

A study of over 4,800 Americans aged 40 to 85 found that approximately 110 000 deaths per year could be prevented by adding just 10-minutes extra moderate to vigorous intensity activity a day, and an increase of 20 or 30 minutes could lead to even more lives saved; the study noted.

“Increasing moderate to vigorous physical activity by 10, 20, or 30 minutes per day was associated with a 6.9%, 13.0%, and 16.9% decrease in the number of deaths per year, respectively. Adding 10 minutes per day of physical activity resulted in an estimated 111 174 preventable deaths per year, with greater benefits associated with the addition of more physical activity.”

In the UK, this would translate to around 10,000 fewer deaths for 10 more minutes of physical activity, Public Health England suggests.

The recommended guidelines for physical activity say we should aim for 150 minutes of moderate activity a week, which for some of us sounds like a lot and it can be difficult to find time to fit this into a busy schedule. However, this new revelation proves that even a small, manageable increase in daily physical activity can have massive benefits to your health. This makes improving your health accessible and realistic for everyone and doesn’t need to feel like a big task.

‘Moderate to vigorous’ is a term that may also sound daunting to some people, especially those with long-term conditions or mobility problems. However, you would be surprised at the activities that could be classed as moderate-intensity for you, and it does not mean that you need to go for a sprint to increase your health and lifespan. Moderate-intensity activities are those that increase your calorie burn to 3 or more times the number of calories you burn when you’re resting. The most popular and accessible form of moderate activity is ‘brisk’ walking (at least 3mph) which is something that is achievable for most people, other forms of moderate activity include:

• Gardening
• Housework e.g., sweeping or vacuuming
• Washing dishes
• Washing the car
• Cutting the grass
• Cycling under 10mph
• Gentle swimming
• Water aerobics
• Fishing
• Golf
• Dancing e.g., ballroom or line dancing

Hopefully there is something on that list that appeals and can be easily added into your daily routine, it may even persuade you to do some chores that you have been putting off! And even if none of these examples are for you, there will be something in your everyday life that is moderate-intensity, and you could do more of that. Remember, every move really does matter.

Here at KiActiv®, we aim to empower you to make these positive changes to your physical activity profile within the context of your own day-to-day life. Our personalised mentoring programme aims to educate you on the value of your everyday movement, optimising your activity levels to maximise these long-term health benefits. Finding that extra 10 minutes a day to do some moderate activity is something that is achievable for all of us, and can help you live a longer, healthier life.

The KiActiv® Team

Be mindful when interpreting your fitness tracker data

20 January 2022

Fitness trackers are becoming increasingly popular, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic, where many people have made a conscious decision to care more about their health. Various models of wearable fitness trackers occupied four of the top 10 most popular items in this year’s Black Friday sales. If you are thinking of following the crowd, or perhaps you already own the latest wearable gadget, it is vital to consider the context behind the data you are collecting by using it – something which many fitness trackers fail to provide.

Most wearable fitness trackers provide daily ‘goals’, for example, the Apple watch urges users to ‘close their rings’ for each day, each of which are related to certain activity-based goals. These features are designed with the intention to motivate us to move more, but is there actually any scientific rationale to justify these goals? A great example of this that most people will be familiar with is the10,000 steps a day goal. This is a completely arbitrary number that originates from a successful marketing campaign in the mid-1960’s and does not have any scientific explanation to support it, despite how widely it is promoted. This example demonstrates how it is important to examine the science behind daily goals set for you by your wearable device.

Consistent activity tracking can become addictive, yet the lack of context behind the data is potentially causing more harm to our health than good. Research suggests that some individuals can become obsessed with their data and numbers, which may lead to negative long-term psychological impacts, despite the fact these numbers may not always be accurate. When a daily goal is not met, it can be disheartening, and feel like a failure, this is known as the Nocebo effect. So, it is important to remember that physical activity looks different to every individual, and that any progress is progress, even if you aren’t at the same stage as other people.

With all this in mind, it is important for data from fitness trackers to be contextualised. If you have achieved 20 minutes activity in one week, and 30 minutes the next week, this improvement deserves to be celebrated. Without support and guidance, it is easy to feel like small improvements don’t matter. However, the opposite is true, every move we make matters, no matter how small it may seem. It is also important to incorporate rest if you are feeling unwell, or lacking in energy, but this is something that is often viewed as ‘lazy,’ particularly as wearable data will not provide this context. This can create inappropriate negative associations with taking a break.

The true value of wearable data comes from accurate analysis and interpretation, which provides appropriate context and insight into your physical activity and how this translates into your day-to-day life. At KiActiv® we understand the importance of expressing your health data in an accessible format that enables you to get the most out of this information. Our digital platform displays your physical activity data within the context of your own condition, providing personalised and meaningful insight that commercial fitness trackers can’t. By supporting participants with a Mentor, we help you understand the context behind your data, and recognise your progress, giving you the confidence to self-manage your own physical activity in the future. We understand physical activity is multidimensional and it’s important to focus on movement you enjoy, not just what the numbers are saying on a screen, to sustain an active lifestyle.

The KiActiv® Team

Brain tissue, physical activity and the fight against dementia

13 January 2022

Traditional advice on how to improve or maintain our mental and physical health includes recommendations for regular physical activity. Government guidelines suggest, for substantial health benefits, adults should accumulate at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity activity (such as brisk walking or cycling) or 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity activity (such as running).

However, what is often missed is the message that these short intervals of physical activity can be any activity that gets the body moving. The objective is to create easy, convenient, and enjoyable opportunities to get moving and engage in any sort of physical activity to benefit your health. Every move you make matters!

As we age, engaging in physical activity becomes more and more important. Studies show that people who are physically active are less likely to experience a decline in their mental function and have a lowered risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease as physical activity is one of the known modifiable risk factors for dementia.

This is supported by a recent study conducted by UC San Francisco, which found that when older adults stay active, their brains produce more of a class of proteins that enhances the connections between neurons to maintain healthy cognition. Originally, the beneficial effects of physical activity on cognition have been shown in mice but have been much harder to demonstrate in people. However, through this research, it has been shown that synaptic protein regulation is related to physical activity and may drive these beneficial cognitive outcomes.

Casaletto, a neuropsychologist of the Will Institute for Neuroscience, commented “Maintaining the integrity (through physical activity) of these connections between neurons may be vital to fending off dementia, since the synapse is really the site where cognition happens”, Casaletto added that “Physical activity, a readily available tool, may help boost this synaptic functioning.”

In Casaletto’s previous work, she showed that older adults who take part in higher levels of physical activity have higher levels of proteins. These higher protein levels facilitate the exchange of information between neurons. Thus, individuals who had more of these proteins in their brains were better able to maintain their cognition late in life.

Using these two studies in conjunction, we can see the importance of physical activity for cognitive health and to help protect against dementia. Physical activity, therefore, is vital for healthy aging, positively benefiting our physical health as well as our cognitive wellbeing. Staying physically active as we age substantially drops our risk of developing dementia during our lifetimes, and it doesn’t require prolonged exercise. Walking or moving about, rather than prolonged sitting, may be all it takes to help protect our brains!

At KiActiv®, we recognise that physical activity is important for maintaining brain health and we aim to empower uses to take control of their activity, in a personalised and accessible way. For people managing long-term conditions, or simply looking to age well and maintain good health, helping them to put the power back in their hands enables a proactive approach to wellbeing. Emphasising that physical activity is more than just exercise and sport and that every move matters, is vital to allow all of us to make simple yet effective changes that result in a variety of health benefits.

The KiActiv® Team

Make physical activity your New Year’s resolution

7 January 2022

New Year’s celebrations around the world often go hand-in-hand with resolutions, many of which are related to health, such as to lose weight and to get fitter. The subject of weight loss is a minefield, in which experts’ opinions about the “best” diet for weight loss change almost every day. However, a growing number of experts believe that weight loss may not be the most important benefit associated with an active lifestyle.

Research shows that physical activity affects pretty much every cell in the body, not just our heart or our muscles, but all our other organs, as well. Thus, living an active lifestyle is something that is vital for good health.

Gaesser’s research suggests that intentional weight loss is usually associated in studies with a lower risk of all-cause mortality, however the amount of weight lost doesn’t seem have any impact on the risk of premature death. Moving more and eating better are both consistently and strongly linked to reduce risk of all-cause mortality. Gaesser commented that “the health benefits of exercise and diet are largely independent of weight loss”. Increasing physical activity lowers the risk of death from any cause by 15% to 50%, and the risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD) mortality by 15% up to 40%. Indeed, the greater reductions in all-cause and CVD mortality are observed with increases to fitness, with greater mortality reductions seen in those moving from low fitness categories to a higher fitness category.

So, if you find weight loss difficult and tend to make the same New Year’s resolutions every year in an attempt to become a healthier version of yourself, it may be time for change. This research highlights that you may not necessarily need to focus on losing weight to get healthier, and that the health benefits that come from increasing your physical activity are independent to those associated with weight loss. Instead, you could make a goal to decrease your sedentary time by moving more throughout the day, whether that’s from a stroll in the park, hanging out the washing or whatever activities you most enjoy. In fact, focusing on movement has numerous benefits to our physical and mental health, and can prevent getting disheartened by the number on the scales, because the likelihood is if you’re moving more, your health will be benefitted as a result.

Participating in regular physical activity is an essential part of preventing and managing health conditions. All the movement that makes up our daily lives are essential to our body working well and there are many accessible ways to increase our everyday movement, whether that be going on walks with your friends and family, taking the stairs instead of the elevator, or even doing some gardening.

At KiActiv®, we believe there are so many ways to be active and we aim to put you in control of your movement and your health. Our goal is to help users better understand their physical activity habits to optimise their personalised physical activity. Our user-centred approach focuses on individual choices and self-management so you can make improvements to your health that can be sustained long term. So, if you haven’t made a New Year’s resolution already, or fancy a change from your usual resolutions, why not focus on physical activity this year and start to unlock all the benefits it provides!

The KiActiv® Team

Managing diabetes for a happy, healthy, holiday

17 December 2021

As Christmas Celebrations begin, many of us start to worry about how to stay healthy whilst still enjoying the festive period. One way we do this is by being physically active. If you have Type 2 Diabetes, keeping your activity up can help manage your blood sugar, which can be particularly important during the festive period where we often indulge a bit more than usual. Whatever your plan for the festive period, if you or your loved one has diabetes, or simply want to maintain your health, it is important to take action to manage your condition well while still enjoying all that Christmas has to offer.

Christmas is a fun time of the year: everyone deserves to enjoy a good break, but it is also important to stay physically active, in whatever way works for you. Everyday physical activity allows us to find movement in everyday tasks, whether it’s walks with family, Christmas shopping, preparing food or doing some household chores. Remember, every move matters!

Recent research has found that increased moderate-to-vigorous physical activity increases the tendency for skeletal muscle to produce crucial chemical signals to battle insulin resistance. This means for those with Type 2 Diabetes, physical activity is essential for breaking down sugar more easily. The lead researcher for this project stated that “these exercise-induced chemical signals drive adaptive responses that are integral to the health promoting effects of exercise”. This clearly shows the important link between physical activity and effective management of one’s health, particularly for those living with diabetes.

But, if you don’t feel this is for you, don’t worry. Walking is just one way we can move our bodies. There are many other kinds of physical activity that are equally as important for our health and wellbeing, so everyone can make the most of their movement in a way that suits them and their busy schedule.

A physically active lifestyle will look different for everybody and can be done in many ways that won’t even make it feel like a chore, such as a Christmas day stroll with your family, encouraging everyone to play an active game or even having a dance to any of the top Christmas Hits! These small things can maintain your activity levels and have significant health benefits. ristmas crackers or generally moving more around the house – every movement matters and it can all count!

At KiActiv®, we support you to discover what shapes your life and help you to understand how to make the most of every move you make through the day. Accurate body data provides the insights for you to make the best decisions and deliver the most effective outcomes for you and your health. A study published by Dr. Rhéaume and colleagues, demonstrates the importance of using activity trackers to monitor activity, stating: “Our most important finding was that the activity tracker could be a potential motivational tool to increase physical activity in patients with Type 2 Diabetes”. The research noted that 75% of participants reported that activity trackers motivated them to stick to the physical activity program after the intervention was over. And we know that data from activity trackers loses its value if it doesn’t have any context and that’s why we’ve developed KiActiv®

With an activity tracker alone, people can be unsure about how to use the data they’ve collected. Our unique KiActiv® method provides analysis in the context of health. This makes the wearable data valuable and creates individual understanding that empowers authentic choice, which promotes effective behaviour change. So, the activity monitor is just the start. Just think of the benefits you could achieve by understanding the data collected by your activity tracker and how you use it to manage your health and wellbeing in your way!

At KiActiv®, our goal is to help you better understand your physical activity habits by continuously self-monitoring your movements and finding what works best for you. This can allow you to implement positive behavioural changes that can be sustained over the long-term, and importantly, throughout the holiday period where we often fall out of our normal routines.

The KiActiv® Team

How to stay active when working from home

13 December 2021

We have all heard the news that working from home is once again recommended, news that many of us will welcome. While working from home offers a number of benefits, it also makes it easier to slip into a sedentary lifestyle, and we may lose a lot of the activity in our daily routines that would usually come from commuting. 65% of adults in the UK reported some form of active travel in their normal day-to-day life, accumulating an average of 195 mins/week. Adults who use active travel have significantly higher total physical activity than those who do not, and we don’t want the news on work from home to cause this to decrease. When your commute is from your bedroom to your home office or living room, you will likely need to consciously plan extra movement and activity into your day. The good news is that every move you make matters.

During the social distancing period in 2020 and early 2021 the level of physical activity was significantly reduced. A study found that prior to the Covid-19 pandemic, 69% of adults within the cohort were classified as very active, and during the social distancing period, this percentage dropped to 39%. Additionally, people who experience long bouts of uninterrupted sitting and who stay sedentary for much of their waking time (12.5 hours or more a day) have the highest risk of death from any cause.

This is why it is important to identify time during your day to build in activity that you would otherwise be getting from a commute. Taking a break and lunchtime and making a point to get up and cook and/or go on a short walk will make a big difference when it comes to increasing your activity and improving your health. Research has recommended that we should get up and move every 30 minutes to reduce the negative impacts to our health that come from being sedentary. This does not mean that you have to go on a run 16 times during your working day. Simply getting up, stretching your legs and getting the blood flowing is enough to break up long periods of sitting.

Every 30 minutes may sound a lot and may not always be possible, but doing something is always better than doing nothing. Making the effort to get up at all, regardless of how frequent, is better than staying still all day. Maybe you could aim for once an hour, and once that becomes a routine you can progress to once every half an hour. Perhaps you could set a reminder on your phone or computer that’ll push you to get out of your seat or off the couch every 30 minutes to grab a glass of water, take a walk outside or do a lap around the office. You could even just pace up and down when on the phone.

Not only will this benefit your physical health, but you will also feel better for it. Working from home can be isolating and it can feel difficult to motivate yourself. Consciously making the effort to move will stimulate your brain and release endorphins, which can improve your mood and also allow you to think clearer and reduce brain fog, resulting in higher work productivity.

At KiActiv® we believe that these unexpected changes to your daily routine, such as work from home, should not be barriers to physical activity. There are so many ways to be active even when you are stuck inside working, all it takes from you is a little conscious effort to break up those long periods of sitting down. Don’t let your activity levels drop following this announcement and take control of your health this Christmas!

The KiActiv® Team

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