People who spent more time sitting were more likely to become disabled when compared with people with similar health and exercise habits who sat less. Each daily hour spent sitting increased the odds of problems with activities of daily living by 46 percent.
But here’s the good news – it’s never too late to get moving! And anybody can do it. The following comes from an article on the NPR website discussing the study’s findings:
The key to maintaining your muscles’ ability to do basic, low-intensity tasks is keeping them working, says Marc Hamilton, an inactivity physiologist at Pennington Biomedical Research Center in Baton Rouge, La.
If you want to maintain mobility through life, Hamilton says, get your muscles focused on just that.
“Get nonfatiguing activity in as much as possible,” he says.
That can be as simple as walking around the office, or parking your car at the far end of the parking lot or even just standing up while talking on the phone.
Bottom line – just get up and move! You don’t need to run a marathon, just get moving. Any movement at all is better than none. As you’ve all heard me say many times, getting started is the hard part. Once you get up and go, the rest is easy.
And if that’s still not enough to motivate you – wait! There’s more . . .
These two recent research reports from the Journal of Aging and Physical Activity may give you some incentive to specifically try Pilates. One study was conducted to “evaluate the effect of a program of modified Pilates for active individuals with chronic non-specific low back pain”. This study found that
Pilates used as a specific core stability exercise incorporating functional movements can improve non-specific chronic low back pain in an active population compared to no intervention. Additionally, Pilates can improve general health, pain level, sports functioning, flexibility, and proprioception [awareness of the position of one’s body – important for maintaining balance while moving] in individuals with chronic low back pain.
Another study “investigated the effect of Pilates exercise on physical fall risk factors 12 months after an initial 5 week Pilates intervention”. This study got the following results:
Balance improvements after a short Pilates intervention were maintained one year later in all participants, with increased benefits from ongoing participation.
So give it a try! You might even find out you like it. Don’t let fear hold you back. I can promise you this: no one who comes to my classes will bite you – or judge you. Remember, the consequences of not moving are pretty scary, too. Just come and do what you can. You will be welcomed by all!
Of course there are many other research findings that support continued activity regardless of age or perceived limitations. So take that first step. Even if your first effort feels confusing or uncomfortable, you will improve if you stick with it. Just making the effort will give you a sense of accomplishment. But you’ll never improve if you don’t try. So make the commitment and give it a whirl. You’ll be glad you did!