Tuesday, 9 April 2013

Sneak It In Week: Apr. 8-12

In Canada, it is Sneak It In Week, April 8-12--an initiative by ParticipAction which aims at getting Canadians to move more and get active. As simple as this message might sound, the task seems to be getting harder year after year with the humongous growth of all the means of comfort we surround ourselves with, isn't it? For example the mere fact of owning a car holds some of us back from walking to the near by grocery store. In this week you are invited to wear your sneakers to work or pack them in your bag. Try to walk to work or sneak in anything from 5 to 10-minute walk sessions during your lunch breaks. Get moving in any way that works for you. You'll discover how tempting a fresh walk is once you are liberated of unfit shoes!

Interestingly, research connecting breast health to leading an active life is constantly growing. According to the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation, "regular physical activity helps improve your overall physical, emotional and social health and well-being" and "can lower your risk of breast cancer by as much as 25-30%." Even though research is not clear on the exact details of this relation, women who exercise regularly are also more likely to eat a balanced diet and pursue healthier endeavors such as quitting smoking and watching their body weight. BreastHealthDay.org states that "inactivity is estimated to cause 10-16% of all breast cancer cases." This is not to mention body weight factors at this moment. Being active is important even if you are not over weight.

But how can we sneak this extra activity? That's where most of us stumble. ParticipAction advises, "an extra 10 minutes a day, Monday to Friday, adds up to an extra 50 minutes of physical activity each week. That's a third of the way to the 150 minutes/week you need for health benefits." Imagine that? If you wish, this would even give you less time at the gym and more free time at home.

The Canadian Society of Exercise Physiology (CSEP) recommends the following for adults between 18 and
64 of age:
- Get a minimum of 30 minutes per day or about 2.5 hours per week of moderate-to-vigorous aerobic physical activity, for example brisk walking, cycling, swimming, taking an exercise or dance class, or cross-country skiing.
- Choose physical activities that you enjoy and will be more likely to continue. The activities you choose can be as simple as taking a brisk walk for 30 minutes, five days a week. Whatever you choose, aim to push yourself to break a sweat and breathe harder.
- If you are already active for 30 minutes a day, try to work your way up to 60 minutes.
- The activity can be broken up throughout the day in 10-minute bouts, at a minimum.
- Add muscle and bone strengthening activities on at least two days per week. This includes brisk walking, jogging, or lifting weights.

Furthermore, "If you are not a healthy weight, even a small weight loss may lower your risk of breast cancer. The best weight-loss formula involves low-to-moderate intensity activity over a longer period rather than short, intense bursts." Remember that other health factors and age restrictions may apply so it is important to check with your doctor before starting an exercise regiment if you have any medical conditions such as heart diseases.

Here are some suggestions from the team at ParticipAction and CBCF on how to sneak those power 10 minutes:
- Park 10 minutes away from your office,
- Take 10 minute walk before your lunch,
- Hop off public transit a few stops sooner,
- Climb the stairs more than once a day,
- Walk your dog,
- Start a lunchtime walking club,
- Clip a pedometer and aim at 10,000 steps/day,
- Walk/ cycle to work or park your car at far end,
- Dance... and be creative!

So, as the ParticipAction motto goes: "Let's get moving"!




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