I work with several public health researchers and colleagues who are generally healthy and sporty. I, a sedentary secretary, am not. I frequently see new public awareness films, infographics such as this one, healthy living campaigns and awareness-raising: doing X minutes of exercise per day can reduce your chances of cancer and/or diabetes and/or heart disease by 30%. And I share the information with others and continue sitting at my desk.
Genealogy, my winter hobby, doesn’t help at all to change this. I tend to come down early at the weekends when the house is quiet and just spend some time searching and writing my ancestors’ stories. I don’t live near the places I am researching so can’t conveniently walk down to the archives or stroll round the cemeteries looking for graves. And as all the information I have access to is online, it doesn’t get me healthy.
However some of the health awareness must be sinking in, as last year I bought my beloved standing desk off a colleague. Its name is Ergotron (obviously with a name like that it’s a male desk). I have found that I get hungrier more quickly and am taking from that experience that it’s speeding up my digestive process, like removing a kink from a hose, so that’s one quick and obvious indication that I’m doing something right. It’s not meant to be used for long periods instead of sitting, as that can lead to different ailments such as varicose veins, but instead for the user to vary between sitting and standing fairly often.
We all die in the end, and being dead doesn’t scare me, but I would like to put off dying for a few more decades thank you very much. So this spring when several colleagues in my work area formed teams for a walking challenge – the Step Count Challenge run by Paths For All – I was super-keen and very organised about raising my daily walking totals. And with dedication and good company (and good views like the photo of my local Ochil Hills) I lost half a stone in two months just by walking more. And really got to know my colleagues a lot more, which was really nice.
I had been really ashamed prior to the start of the challenge about my almost total lack of activity at the weekends, and now this Challenge has finished I continue to make a point of going for a walk on both Saturdays and Sundays, even if only trudging round the shops. And I find that I have more energy on Mondays as a result and can usually bounce off to Zumba quite the thing. There is a shorter version of the spring challenge this autumn and I have friends who hadn’t come across the spring one who now interested in trying it.
So I plan to keep walking and getting fitter. So much better to discover ancestors’ lives through census returns than to communicate with current family by knocking three times at a séance!
© Lynne Black, 18 July 2016