I recently read a BBC article about Inactivity and used it in one of my classes as a supplement to a subject we were studying. As part of the lesson, the students had to prepare questions and do a class survey; they included me. One of the questions was ‘how much time do you spend either sitting or lying down during a day?’ After including sleeping, lessons and PE at school, watching TV or sitting at a computer the result was more than 22 hours per day for most of us. Only a couple of students did extra sport during the week and even then, it was only for about 2-3 hours. No-one walked or cycled anywhere (Jakarta isn’t conducive to either really).
We discussed it as a class and came up with the usual reasons: lack of time, tiredness, homework (me included, I’m still studying), living in a City, the ubiquity of computers etc. I told the class that when I was young and there was no Internet or cable TV I did a lot more: I cycled to school every day, went swimming regularly, took the bus into town to meet friends, participated in netball, hockey and swimming teams. Even in my 20’s when I worked in London and didn’t have a car, I walked everywhere. So what happened in the intervening 20 odd years?
Now, I’m the first to admit that I’ve never really been a ‘sporty’ person, but when I analysed how I live now, I was shocked to my core at how inactive I’ve let myself become:
- I take an ojek to school every day, and back
- I take buses or taxis to the mall or to meet friends
- I only have to walk down one corridor to the lift in my apartment block
- I watch far too much TV now that I have cable
- I sit at my computer a lot to either plan lessons, read emails, blogs or just surf.
In short, I am virtually dead and, being on the wrong side of 50, I know something has to change. Unfortunately, I know myself and what I basically lack is W-I-L-L-P-O-W-E-R. I can talk myself out of virtually anything, especially exercise. I can lie in bed and tell myself in the sternest terms ‘get up now, go swimming, you will feel so much better’ but another part of me says ‘no, no, just lie here in the warm for a few more minutes’ and I obey, willingly. I would love to say this is a family trait but alas no – my immediate family are all still fairly active people.
Mentally, I am as alert as I’ve always been but physically, I’m part of the pandemic the BBC mentions, a potential statistic. It’s a sobering thought.
Are you as inactive as me? Have you looked at how much physical activity you do every day? Are the statistics the same in your country? What do you do to motivate yourself to exercise? I would love to hear your views.
Categories: Just Plain Blog