From the past 20 years, I have taught many exercise methodologies, including Pilates, Zumba, TRX, Yoga, and Gyrotonic. My clients often ask me what things they can do at home to add to the fitness training we do together; depending on their goals and the time they have to workout I'll recommend a plan that seems doable. Now more and more I am asking them to examine their daily habits; how much do you stand? Walk? Do you cross your legs when seated? How much of each day do you spend looking at a screen? How well do you sleep? Etc. A more holistic approach, not just thinking of physical activity and fitness as what you do in the studio or the gym.
Thanks to new research we are rethinking what constitutes healthy living. At the Stanford Center on Longevity, they are approaching this idea by examining what they call the "24 Hour Activity Cycle"(24HAC).
"The researchers have called for a national shift in priorities. With the great majority of the population now having the opportunity to live into old age, chronic conditions such as heart disease, cancer, and diabetes have replaced acute diseases like influenza as top causes of death. These chronic diseases are highly influenced by lifestyle choices and future health and longevity gains will likely be made through behavior modifications that help people increase physical activity, eat better, socialize more, and sleep soundly. One way of viewing this shift is working to keep people healthy longer, rather than waiting until they are sick to intervene."
And thanks to the " virtually universal connectivity, cloud computing, and advances in big data analytics bring the promise of truly personalized recommendations on the best ways to optimize our health. Our current activity guidelines, however, are rooted in past measurement capabilities. It is time to take a more comprehensive approach to activity that takes advantage of all the tools at hand."
The 24 Hour Human Activity Cycle (24 HAC) shifts focus from a single kind of activity (such as exercise), instead examining an entire 24-hour day. Visualized as a 24 hour “clock”, with activities broken into the domains of sleep, exercise, sedentary behavior, and light activity.
And here is some really good news:
"Emerging physical activity research is finding that even low levels of activity contribute to better health. This is particularly important for older individuals, for whom traditional exercise may not be attainable.Research shows that exercise promotes better sleep, which in turn tends to lead to better alertness and more activity. "
So ask yourself how do you spend ALL of your time? There may be many more moments when activity that promotes your overall health can be added to your day!
One great tip: During the sedentary part of your day, set a timer and
Every 20 minutes, Stand up, look at something 20 feet away for 20 seconds.
This will offer relief and renewal to your body and your eyes.