Switch off, step out and take your first steps to better health

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Friday, October 10th, 2014
Community
The Public Health Agency (PHA) is encouraging everyone to switch off the telly, pull on your walking shoes and take the first steps to better health, after figures revealed that almost half of adults in Northern Ireland are sitting in front of the TV for more than two hours per day. Reduced activity, combined with a poor diet, can lead to becoming overweight or obese. Colette Brolly, the PHA lead on physical activity, explained, “In today’s hectic society, it can be easy to slouch down in front of the TV after a day at work or when the kids have gone to bed, but too much sedentary behaviour can damage our health. “To break the cycle, try building some simple activities in to your day. Walking is one of the simplest forms of exercise. It doesn’t cost you anything and has many health benefits. Walking at a brisk pace can make you feel good, reduce anxiety, help you sleep better, reduce blood pressure and help you manage your weight. “You don’t need any specialised equipment to get walking, just a comfortable pair of shoes. Walking doesn’t have to be complicated either, just build it in to everyday activities such as walking to the shops or work instead of driving. “You can enjoy walking together as a family and walk with the children to school which will encourage them from an early age to be active.” Watching television is one of the main forms of sedentary behaviour, which is when the main mode of posture is sitting or lying down and energy expenditure is low. In the 2012/13 Northern Ireland Health Survey, 45% of respondents said they watch TV for two hours or more on a weekday, with that figure rising to 54% at the weekend. Colette continued, “Walking in a group can be a good way to get started and it’s also a great way to make friends who can keep you motivated. There are many groups coordinated by your local health and social care trust so contact them to find out times and days that the groups meet.” Walking for Health group walks are for those who do little or no physical activity but would like to become more active. The groups are led by trained volunteers and are available throughout Northern Ireland. To find out more about your walking groups in your area visit www.choosetolivebetter.com/content/getting-active

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