THE benefits of regular exercise on our physical and mental health are well documented.
But did you know there are also increased health risks associated with the amount of time spent in sedentary behaviour; sitting.
Sedentary behaviour is associated with poorer health outcomes, including an increased risk of type 2 diabetes.
It soon adds up - sitting on the bus or in the car, sitting at a desk or computer, sitting watching television.
The Australian Physical Activity and Sedentary Behaviour Guidelines provide excellent fact sheets for people of all ages.
The Guidelines for Adults (18-64 years) are:
- Doing any physical activity is better than doing none. If you currently do no physical activity, start by doing some, and gradually build up to the recommended amount.
- Be active on most, preferably all, days every week.
- Accumulate 150 to 300 minutes (2 ½ to 5 hours) of moderate intensity physical activity or 75 to 150 minutes (1 ¼ to 2 ½ hours) of vigorous activities, each week.
- Do muscle strengthening activities on at least 2 days each week.
- Minimise the amount of time spent in prolonged sitting.
- Break up long periods of sitting as often as possible.
Sitting less and moving more is one of the key messages for the QCWA's Country Kitchens program. Since July 2015, the program has been helping Queenslanders living in rural, regional and remote areas to make healthier choices about their nutrition and exercise.
The program, funded by the Queensland Government, starts with a series of immersive Hands On Nutrition Workshops, run by Country Kitchens' accredited practicing dietitians alongside local QCWA branch members.
Aside from learning how to sit less and move more, participants gain valuable insights about eating more fruit and vegetables daily, cooking at home and being aware of portion sizes and sugar in beverages.
"Once you learn some basics you'll quickly realise how easily regular exercise fits into your day," program coordinator, Fiona McKenzie said.
Getting sufficient exercise is an excellent health goal and so is sitting less. No matter how active you are, take some steps towards reducing the amount of time spent sitting.
- Catch up with family and friends in an active way. Go for a walk or bike ride. Play Frisbee in the park or tray a yoga class together.
- Get up 30 minutes early and start your day with an invigorating brisk walk.
- If you work at a desk for long periods, get up from your computer every 30 minutes, stand up, walk to the door and back; get a glass of water every couple of hours.
- When watching TV, every second advertisement break, try getting up and walking around the living room while the ads are on.
- Aim to breakup your day with standing and sitting tasks such as ironing while standing up.
- Weeding the garden provides a combination of squatting and standing exercises.
- When driving for shopping or errands, park a little farther away from your destination and enjoy a quick walk.
- If your day involves driving a tractor, aim for regular breaks from sitting such as getting out of the cabin every hour for a quick walk around the machinery.
Put simply, being physically active is really good for you. And evidence suggests the greatest health benefits are achieved by active people who also sit less and move more.
QCWA Chinchilla Branch president Glynis Stevenson agrees.
"Chinchilla Secret Mummy's business is a walking group for mums with bubs in strollers," she said.
"The walk is followed by a healthy snack and health information conversation; all three elements benefiting this group in our community."
For the 12 months to December 2016, 929 people from 20 communities participated in the QCWA Country Kitchens program. A further 24 towns out of the targeted 80 communities are on the schedule to learn more about the benefits of healthy lifestyle practises.
"The program is inspiring state-wide action as each participating QCWA Branch and their community adopt these important health messages," Ms McKenzie said.
To get involved contact your local QCWA Branch or member, or go to www.qcwa.org. au/countrykitchens and register.
Orange, pistachio and chickpea cake
Serves 12, prep 75 minutes, cook 50 minutes
- 2 unpeeled oranges
- 150g pistachio nuts
- 400g chickpeas, rinsed and drained
- 3/4 cup caster sugar
- 4 eggs
- 1/2 cup gluten free plain flour
- 1 teaspoon gluten free baking powder
- COVER oranges with cold water in a large saucepan and bring to boil.
- DRAIN and repeat again, adding cold water and bring to boil.
- BOIL on a low heat for 45minutes.
- PREHEAT oven to 170ºC. Line 22cm round baking tin with baking paper.
- REMOVE seeds from oranges, puree in food processer until smooth. Remove, set aside.
- PROCESS nuts and chickpeas individually to a fine crumb.
- WHISK sugar and eggs in a large bowl until thick.
- FOLD in orange mixture, ground nuts and chickpea mix, flour and baking powder.
- SPOON batter into prepared tin.
- BAKE for 50 minutes.
Recipe courtesy of: Australian Healthy Food Guide
For more QCWA recipes go to www.qcwa.org.au/ countrykitchens/recipes.
IN FOCUS: Five minutes with Judy Henwood and Helen Heineke
Why did you decide to get involved with QCWA's Country Kitchens program?
We are both passionate foodies and enjoy creating delicious, healthy meals for friends and family. Joining the QCWA has involved some wonderful and fun times including running the very first QCWA Country Kitchens event at Mermaid Beach.
What part of the Country Kitchens program appeals to you the most and why?
It has been a wonderful experience working with the Country Kitchens team as well as the opportunity to learn new skills. Yes, you can teach an old dog new tricks!
What have you enjoyed the most about becoming a facilitator?
It is such a fantastic and worthwhile project. Travelling to spread the messages far and wide has been a terrific experience.
In what ways have you been able to reinforce the Country Kitchens five key messages within your community?
We presented samples and recipes to Parkwood Probus club late last year, held an afternoon tea at a local school and introduced the Bean Brownie recipe. We have also provided HaveaFeed with the Country Kitchens Minestrone recipe to use in their program feeding the homeless.
Does your branch have a Country Kitchens inspired community activity/event planned in the near future?
We continue to promote Country Kitchens and the benefits of the five key messages at every opportunity.