A sedentary lifestyle is one in which you do little or no physical exercise, and spend much of the day sitting or lying down. This leads to a number of serious health problems. In fact, a lack of physical exercise is one of the leading causes of preventable deaths. The best way to combat a sedentary lifestyle is not to live one, but in reality many people do.
Among them are office workers. According to a recent study, office workers spend around 70 – 85% of their time alive on this planet sitting or lying down. Hobbies such as video gaming, poker and internet browsing have also led to a type of sedation known as “screen time”. The biggest online poker tournaments usually take place on a Sunday, and many have structures that create gameplay that lasts for 8+ hours.
Whether for work or pleasure, 8 hours a day is a long time to sit at a desk. I’m not asking you to give up your job, or indeed your hobbies, but to consider balancing this time wisely with more physical exercise.
Negative Effects Of A Sedentary Lifestyle
Playing video games or poker as a one off is unlikely to cause long term harm, but anyone who’s job commits them to spending most of the day sitting down should consider the negative impact this can have on health.
A sedentary lifestyle is a major cause of obesity. Sitting for longer than four hours per day can increase the risk of cardiovascular disease and diabetes. A study showed that people who watch a lot of television (YouTube counts the same!) are 70% more likely to develop venous thrombosis than those who never watch it.
As well as causing physical deterioration due to lack of exercise, a sedentary lifestyle has also been linked to psychological problems, such as anxiety and depression. If you are serious about your mental and physical health, it’s time to get moving!
Addressing Your Habits
In an ideal world, there would be enough knowledge and understanding about health that employers would all implement more initiatives to address their employees’ health. This is starting to happen, with more and more workplaces offering incentives such as healthcare screenings, gym memberships and wellness classes.
But we’re not yet at the point where it’s clever to rely on your company to look after your health, nor will we ever be at that point. Personal responsibility is way more important. If you want to make changes, it’s up to you to do so. This may involve negotiating terms with your employer, but most of the time it’s about using time outside of work to make up the balance.
If you have sedentary habits outside of work, address those first. As the best weight loss books suggest, overcoming your own habits is essential to long term success.
Implement An Exercise Regime
‘Regime’ is a strong word, but that’s exactly what you need if you want to combat a sedentary lifestyle. You need to get a plan together, cement it firmly in your mind and then put it into action.
Hitting the gym is a great way to make sure you get more exercise. All you have to do is turn up, and then the environment itself will encourage you to get moving your muscles and pumping your heart. Try it out once a week and see how it goes.
A personal trainer can help you to create a customized routine based on your lifestyle, the time you have available and your goals. If you are struggling for inner motivation at first, your trainer can help you to push your own limits.
Simple Ways To Move More
An exercise regime is great, but it’s also beneficial to work small moments of exercise into your daily routine. How you do this will again depend on your own inclinations and lifestyle, but here are just a few suggestions:C
- If you have a desk job, stand up, stretch and walk around regularly.
- Take small walks whenever possible.
- Use the stairs instead of lifts and escalators.
- Do a few push-ups while the kettle boils.
- Take a jog.
- Cycle to work, or if you have to drive park further away.
- Even washing dishes after a meal burns calories…
Even if your job requires you to sit down for long periods, you can find ways to combat your sedentary lifestyle. It all starts with you. Beat your own habits, implement new ones, and enjoy increased physical and mental well-being.