The human body is meant to move, not sit or be inactive for the majority of our lives. Unfortunately, in today’s world, many of us have desk jobs, entertainment, and a non-energetic diet can keep us sitting for most of the day. It has become far too easy for us to be inactive in today’s society.
An inactive lifestyle is something that we need to constantly fight against. The consequences of lifestyle can be grave. A sedentary/inactive lifestyle has been labelled as the new smoking because that’s just how bad it is for us. Imagine that. The consequences of a sedentary lifestyle come in the form of physical, mental problems, and emotional problems and can even lead to death.
Being active isn’t something to take lightly, especially in today’s world. If you think what I’ve said is extreme, you should hear what scientists and medical professionals are saying about a sedentary lifestyle around the globe. There is nothing good said about this type of lifestyle sadly. That’s why I felt that this message was so important to relay.
Believe it or not, your daily chores around the house really don’t even count because your body is used to these types of movements. When you think of an inactive person, you think of a “couch potato”. While these people are included, it could also refer to those who simply just don’t move enough throughout the day. Whether it be sitting for work, sitting for entertainment, or just not moving enough overall.
The most common consequence of being inactive is weight gain. This is the most common side effect that most people can see and feel but it doesn’t stop there.
Physically active people can also lead sedentary lifestyles. When you think about it, there are 24 hours in a day, and the most dedicated athletes spend 2-4 hours a day training and that still leaves 22-24 hours a day to be inactive. Eight of those hours are also already spent sleeping for the most part. This leaves 14 hours more so to be inactive. When you really look at the big picture here, it really puts things into perspective.
I believe that It’s a misconception that people who are sedentary are lazy. Our society today tends to promote inactivity through things like; having more transportation available, more technology, cultural values, and urbanization are all to blame for inactive lifestyles. This is a problem with our society but, we don’t have to be victims of it. We can change that.
The explosion of technology has made it very easy to stay planted in a chair all day. Think about it, the average person spends at least three to four hours a day on their phone and probably another three to four watching TV, then about eight hours a day sitting at work then, possibly another eight hours sleeping. So you do the math there. Kind of mind-blowing when you think about it.
The most common consequence of being inactive is weight gain. This is the most common side effect that most people can see and feel but it doesn’t stop there. There is more there than the eye can see. Just to name a few; Obesity is on the rise. Reduction of the lipoprotein lipase activity that clears triglycerides (the bad fats). Increased risk of high blood pressure. Increased risk of anxiety and depression. Increased risk of stroke. A decrease in skeletal muscle mass. Increased risk of metabolic syndrome. Increased risk of osteoporosis. Increased risk of cardiovascular death. Even an increased risk of some types of cancers and type two diabetes.
Preventing all of these problems is really simple though. All we have to do is get up and move more. Even if we have jobs that require us to sit all day. There are ways to increase your activity levels. We don’t have to be victims of an inactive lifestyle in the society we live in today. We have the power to change that and it’s really not hard to do.
A few ways to increase daily activity working around barriers such as; school, kids, medical conditions, and work may not be super easy at first so start out small if you need to. Start by making an effort to get up and stretch especially if you have a desk job or work from home. Start doing more household chores rather than letting robots such a Roomba sweep, limit your screen time on your devices, pick up a new hobby that doesn’t involve sitting, try walking your dog more, taking the stairs more, parking in the back of the parking lot so you have to walk. My favourite one is getting a device like a Fitbit that will remind you to GET UP AND MOVE! Once you find the activity that you like or multiple activities, expand your knowledge of those activities and use them as a way of life.
So how much activity is enough for us daily? As a health coach, I feel that we should all aim for two to even five hours a day of activity. This should be a mix of things like; moderate activity, vigorous aerobic activity, and muscle-strengthening activities to keep our bones strong and to help retain or build needed muscle. This will help us in our everyday lives and especially as we age.
The thing is, inactivity is actually not human nature. Humans evolved as a walking entity, exploring the world on our feet. We evolved to move, not sit in a chair all day or lack of activity. So when you are stuck at your desk all day, at home working or just sitting around, remember this. WE ARE MEANT TO MOVE. Do your life the favour today even if you have to start small- just move. You owe it to yourself to live a healthy, happy lifestyle.