Mt Pleasant News
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Neighbors Growing Together | Dec 8, 2016

If you talk the talk, you should walk the walk

By Sally Y. Hayes

By SALLY Y. HAYES

Mt. Pleasant News

If Mt. Pleasant is going to talk the talk of becoming healthy with the goal of becoming a Blue Zone then why aren’t we walking the walk?

Over the past six months Blue Zones have been a topic of conversation throughout the community. While Mt. Pleasant has not been selected, at this time, to be considered a Blue Zone community, that does not mean that Mt. Pleasant cannot adopt some of the healthy lifestyle changes suggested by the Blue Zone initiative.

There are nine principles, the “Power 9,” that Blue Zones are based on: move naturally, know your purpose, down shift, the eighty percent rule, plant slant, wine at five, right tribe, community and loved one’s first.

Let’s take a closer look at that first principle – move naturally.

According to the Blue Zones website, “The world’s longest-lived people don’t pump iron, run marathons or join gyms. Instead, they live in environments that constantly nudge them into moving without thinking about it. They live in places where they can walk to the store, to their friend’s house or places of worship. Their houses have stairs. They have gardens in their yards.”

Many of us drive to the office Monday through Friday and work 40-plus hours each week sitting at a desk. We stand up occasionally and walk even less. Occasionally we take a stroll to the water cooler or the restroom, but that sums it up for most of us.

However, there are healthy alternatives that employees and employers throughout the community can adopt.

The Mayo Clinic website suggests a handful of changes.

My favorite proposed change is swapping out your old five-wheeled desk chair for a stability ball. According to the Mayo Clinic website, if you make the switch, “You’ll improve your balance and tone your core muscles while sitting at your desk.”

Sounds great, still accomplishing all of your work tasks while improving posture and alleviating pain.

Another substitute in office furniture is opting for a standing desk. More calories are burnt while standing rather than sitting.

Or if you feel like you’re up for the challenge, consider a treadmill desk. The Mayo Clinic website reads, “In fact, Mayo Clinic researchers estimate that overweight office workers who replace sitting computer time with walking computer time by two to three hours a day could lose 44 to 66 pounds in a year. The pace doesn’t need to be brisk, nor do you need to break a sweat. The faster you walk, however, the more calories you’ll burn.”

Another change on the website is to walk or bike to work if possible. If you must drive, then park at the far end of the parking lot to increase the steps on your pedometer. Or when leaving for lunch, try walking to a favorite restaurant. A splendid idea as the weather warms up.

“Rather than hanging out in the lounge with coffee or a snack, take a brisk walk or do some gentle stretching,” is another way to increase fitness at work according to the Mayo Clinic’s site.

There are many ways for each of us to become healthier; one step at a time is better than many discussions on the topic.

For more information online see www.mayoclinic.com or www.bluezonesproject.com.