Did you know Americans, on average, sit 11 hours a day?
More and more people around the world are adopting a sedentary lifestyle. Many of our jobs have become more sedentary as technology and computerization advances. Our leisure time is spent more and more on video games and social media. We spend hours on smartphones. We are inactive, sitting and lying down with little to no physical activity.
When you are inactive you burn fewer calories and tend to eat more. Inevitably you gain weight. At the same time the muscles atrophy and strength and endurance decrease because you are not using your muscles. The metabolism can become affected and your body may have trouble processing fats and sugars. The blood does not circulate as well, and inflammation starts to develop.
Sedentary lifestyles lead to a greater risk of heart disease, stroke, heart attack, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, stroke, diabetes, osteoporosis, and depression.
The solution to a sedentary lifestyle is to get active. One of the simplest things to do is walk. Start walking. Walk wherever you like. Take your kids or your dog for a walk. Walk with your spouse or a friend. You do not have to walk for a long time at the start. Walk for 10 minutes at a time. Reaching 10,000 steps a day is a popular thing. There is nothing magic about 10,000 steps. It is just a nice big number. Get a wearable fitness tracker and start keeping track of your steps. Creating this kind of accountability to self is motivating.
You can even take walks throughout the day. Break up your day with 10 minutes of walking. If you have a sedentary job, take a 15 minute break, and go for a walk. Walk at your lunch break. It all adds up.
Regular exercise is the best solution to a sedentary lifestyle. Take an online class or join a gym. Everyone knows exercise is good for them, but it can be hard to start. If you are already exercising you can increase your activity throughout the day to break up your inactivity. Stairs are a great way to add more activity to your day. If you have stairs in your house or workplace go up and down the stairs. If you work in a high rise you have it made! Take the stairs instead of the elevator.
You can also stretch. Stretching is a great activity to do throughout the day. Stretching can increase your flexibility, range of motion and blood circulation. It helps prevent inflammation and injury. It is easy to do and does not require any equipment. You can stretch almost anyplace. If you have an office, you can do your stretches there. A 10 minute session of stretching can make you feel more awake and positive.
The key is to break up your inactivity with short sessions of activity. Whether it is walking, stretching, stair climbing or another activity, being active throughout the day will improve your health and wellbeing.