Stand up for Your Health
When Lorraine Barwick was growing up, she was diagnosed with various illnesses and given subsequent treatments for each, but fell chronically ill at age 25. Three years ago, Lorraine and her husband Dave were both diagnosed with Lyme Disease and embarked on a journey to overcome their illnesses.
Lorraine learnt to keep track of her own health goals, while forming a positive relationship with food, exercise and sleep. “That’s when I gained the most understanding of the science behind health and disease.”
Lorraine, who is an Accredited Exercise Physiologist, also served as a mentor to cardiac clients over the past eight years and draws grave connections between cardiovascular disease and sitting down.
She is now on a mission to get people up, moving and more engaged with their own health care, “start with sitting less, standing more and moving more each and every hour of your waking day”.
profile: What did you learn from working in cardiac rehabilitation?
lorraine: Exercise and diet go hand-in-hand in the prevention and management of ischemic heart disease and other lifestyle diseases; and 80 per cent of premature deaths from cardiovascular disease can be prevented by addressing risk factors such as tobacco use, unhealthy diet and physical inactivity. The physical activity guidelines for Australian adults is 30-minutes of moderate intensity exercise on most days of the week, but it’s not enough if you spend most of your time sitting.
profile: What are the health risks associated to spending a long time sitting down?
lorraine: For every hour you sit, your life expectancy decreases by 22 minutes, compared to 11 minutes with smoking. Too much sitting also increases your risk of heart disease – people with sitting jobs have twice the rate of cardiovascular disease than people with standing jobs. Certain cancers and diabetes are also associated. A lot of people settle on sub-optimal health – a life of excess weight, less energy, mood swings, poor digestion and lower sex drive. These are really symptoms that precede disease and sitting may be the cause.
profile: How can you turn that around and add years to your life?
lorraine: The only way to minimise the risk is to limit the time we spend on our butts each day – it starts by sitting less, standing more and moving more each day.
profile: How has society changed when it comes to sitting down?
lorraine: We’ve gone from being up and moving people – living in natural agricultural environments moving throughout our day and sitting for only three hours a day, to sitting for 15 hours a day! That’s the average Australian sit time. Generations before us didn’t have the labour-saving technologies that we do now. Just a generation ago, people did a lot of activities by hand or foot. On any given morning there’s around 70 labour-saving devices we can utilise without breaking into a sweat. Our modern high-tech world is saving us time and energy but we need to burn that energy by going for a walk, but instead of using it for good and being active in our leisure time we’re on our bottoms day in and day out and that’s our huge problem! We’re addicted to sitting.
Need motivation to take a stand? How about this...For every hour you sit, your life expectancy decreases by 22 minutes... So get up and get moving!