Sitting or lying down can be a welcomed break from a busy work day. That said, if you spend your work hours sitting at a desk, and your downtime on a computer or in front of the TV, you have to wonder how too much sitting can affect your life and your health and what ways you can use to reverse this way of life and improve your health.
Sadly, you’re not alone in this, the number of physically active people who don’t lead sedentary lives has reached its lowest point as more and more adults are starting to join the couch potatoes of the world.
More than 80 million Americans are living a sedentary lifestyle along with over 20 million people in the UK. One of the main causes and risk factors for obesity is leading a sedentary lifestyle, and therefore in 2014 over 36.5% of adults and over 17% of children in the US were classified as obese, and 84% of adults in England were classified as either obese or overweight.
If you’re reading this that means that you want to do something to change the way you live so that you can improve your lifestyle and be happier and healthier as a result.
Before we head on to our top 10+ tips on how to improve your lifestyle and stay more active, we’d like to first go over the main reasons why most of us end up living sedentary lives and why our lifestyles are not helping us stay fit and strong.
Causes and Health Risks of a Sedentary Lifestyle
It’s true that sitting down for a brief period can help us recover from stress or recuperate from a physical activity, but nowadays most of us tend to lead sedentary lifestyles that make us move much less and sit much more than our bodies need or want to.
Our bodies are not built for such a lifestyle which is why we face a lot of health risks and problems by simply not moving enough.
Some of those health risks include:
- Bad posture
- Numbness and swelling in the limbs
- Low concentration levels
- Higher risk of developing diabetes, liver and kidney problems
- Higher risk of developing heart disease and becoming overweight or obese
- Chronic pain and swelling
As you can see from the list above, something that seems to be such a harmless habit can actually have the power to impact and destroy our health.
Luckily for us the solutions to this increasing threat are quite simple and very effective, if done correctly and regularly, so stick around to find out what you can do to reverse the harmful effects of this lifestyle.
How to Fix a Sedentary Lifestyle
Although the solution to fixing our sedentary lifestyle and improving our health may seem like a pretty obvious one, moving more is actually one of the best, guaranteed ways to reduce our chances of developing health problems due to our inactive lifestyle as well as improve our health in general.
By moving, we don’t mean simply spending an hour at the gym, running, cycling or doing any other type of exercise, although that’s also very beneficial to your health.
What we mean by moving includes:
- Taking the time to move around and stretch every 30 minutes
- Using an active rather than a passive chair with back support
- If you do choose passive sitting, then at least make sure your feet are resting comfortably and avoid moving your upper body far forward or backward
- Rocking back and forth in your chair can also boost your ability to concentrate
- Consider using an active chair for at least a couple of hours during the day to allow your body to do some of the work by balancing, using the core muscles and also burning calories
Some of the other things you can do to improve your health and reverse the risks of a sedentary lifestyle include:
- Finding the right sitting solution and maintaining a good posture
- Interrupt your sitting every 30 minutes to an hour to simply stand up, walk around or do some stretching
- Drink more water, so you can get hydrated and be compelled to get up and go to the bathroom more often
- Stand up during phone calls or texting
- Use the stairs whenever you can
- Park at the back of the parking lot so that you can do some extra walking each day
Although following a regular exercise regimen is a great way to insure that you’ll stay fit and healthy, you’ll need to make sure to consistently break up your sitting periods by either moving around the office, doing some light stretching or walking around the office to talk to a coworker face to face instead of texting or emailing.
If you follow these few simple steps, not only will you reduce the risks caused by a sedentary lifestyle, but you’ll also feel happier, healthier and more energetic.
A common idea among those wanting to lose weight is that they can lose several KGs per week. Unfortunately, this is very difficult to do.
It’s recommended to lose between 1-2 pounds a week, which is considered safe and sustainable by most experts.
It’s much more likely that you could lose up to 1kg of body fat per week, if you manage to stick to a very clean eating regime and ensure you get adequate exercise on a daily basis.
The bottom line is that you should not be disappointed if you don’t lose 1kg each week because it’s very difficult to do so. But keep up with the clean eating and regular exercise and you will see improvements over the long term.