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15 Ways to Overcome a Sedentary Lifestyle
15 Ways to Overcome a Sedentary Lifestyle

Physical Inactivity can Lead to Unhealthy Lifestyle Habits

Modern advances in technology have afforded us many luxuries in life, making our lives much easier in many ways, but they have also caused many to lead a more sedentary lifestyle. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), 60 to 85% of the worldwide population fails to engage in enough physical activity. Living a sedentary lifestyle is a significant health issue and is considered to be one of the biggest driving factors of the obesity epidemic. Leading a life of physical inactivity is also the fourth leading risk factor for mortality worldwide.

Woman Eating Popcorn

What is a Sedentary Lifestyle?

A sedentary lifestyle is defined as a lifestyle in which an individual does not engage in regular physical activity. It is recommended by many sources, including the Center for Disease Control (CDC), that adults should engage in a minimum of 150 minutes of moderate exercise or 75 minutes of more vigorous physical activity every week. If you do not achieve this level of activity every week, you are at risk of developing, or perhaps already are living, a sedentary lifestyle.

What are the Health Risks of Leading a Sedentary Lifestyle?

One 2005 article, published in Science Magazine, is said to have paved the way for research regarding the negative effects of a sedentary lifestyle. Dr. James A. Levine led the study and concluded that any level of extended sitting can be harmful. Levine has even gone as far as saying that “sitting is the disease of our time.” Physical inactivity has been shown to contribute to numerous health conditions, suggesting that Levine’s negative labeling of sitting is accurate. According to an article published by Johns Hopkins Medicine, the following health risks are linked to physical inactivity:

– Certain cancers

– Cardiovascular disease

– Anxiety and depression

– High blood pressure

– Elevated cholesterol levels

– Obesity

– Decreased skeletal muscle mass

– Coronary heart disease

– Venous Thrombosis

blood pressure

What Causes People to Live a Sedentary Lifestyle?

People don’t just wake up one day to find they are living a sedentary lifestyle. This way of living takes place slowly over time and is often attributed to factors such as work environment, lack of exercise, stressful schedules, bad habits and more. The good news is that living a sedentary lifestyle does not have to be a lifelong condition. Squeezing in extra movement each day can have a major impact.

Tips for Living a Healthier Lifestyle

Most health professionals are in agreement that walking approximately 5 miles (or 10,000 steps) a day is a great way to improve health and reduce the risks caused by living a sedentary lifestyle. Additionally, standing more every day can help you to lose weight and keep it off, according to a review published by the European Journal of Preventive Cardiology. Below are some tips to help you sit less and move more so you can best counteract the effects brought on by lack of activity.

1. Park Far Away

Rather than finding the closest parking spot available, get into the habit of finding one toward the back of the lot or aim to park a block away from your destination. You obviously have to make mindful decisions when deciding where to park. For example, you wouldn’t want to walk down the road a block with a grocery cart – instead you would just park in the back of the lot.

2. Ride Your Bike or Walk to Work

This is not a viable option for everyone but if you live within a reasonable riding/walking distance from work, consider cycling or walking to work rather than driving. You don’t have to do this every day to make it effective either. Consider riding/walking to work a few times a week and plan around the weather, of course!

Bike Riding

3. Skip the Elevator

If you have to go up or down a level or two, skip the elevator and take the stairs. If you have to scale several floors, take the elevator to one or two floors above or below your destination then hop off and take the stairs (or vice versa). When you get used to it, increase the number of levels of stairs you climb. If you park in a level parking lot, park on a different level and use the stairs to get to your destination.

4. Walk the Entire Store

When you go shopping, make it a habit to walk throughout the entire store if you have time. Walk through every aisle and hit every corner. However, it may be wise to avoid walking the aisles that might tempt you with unhealthy junk food.

5. Get off the Bus a Stop Early

If you use public transit, consider making a habit of skipping your stop so you can get more exercise. Either get off the bus at the stop before or go past to the one after and walk home from there. You can enjoy the fresh air and a new neighborhood area while raising your heart rate.

6. Take a Walk Break at Work

Aim to go for a quick walk break at work every day. Take a 15-20 minute breather mid-afternoon when you hit that mid-afternoon lull or squeeze time in on your lunch break for an invigorating break from your regular daily routine. Exercise is a great way to boost your endorphins and increase mood!

7. Walk to Your Colleagues at Work Instead

If you have a question for a colleague at work, opt to walk over to their desk rather than sending an email or picking up the phone. This not only gives you extra exercise but also offers you a little bit of a break for a recharge.

Woman taking Walk

8. Play with Your Kids

Take your kids outside or to an indoor gym and play with them! Toss the ball around, play tag, go for a hike or take part in any other activity that will not only get your blood pumping, but will also pull the kids away from video games and other electronics!

9. Do Your Yard Work

Rather than outsourcing your lawn maintenance, do it yourself. Not only will you get some exercise and save money, but you might find that you enjoy the extra time to yourself too!

Man Working in Yard

10. Dance

Pop in some of your favorite tunes and let your body move to the music. This is not only a great way to get in some exercise, but it can also help you to unwind at the end of a busy or stressful day.

11. Move While Watching TV

Rather than sitting on the couch while watching TV, move. Do some simple stretching exercises or walk in place. When a commercial break comes up, walk around the house. If you have stairs, walk up and down them a few times during each break.

12. Walk while You Talk

When you have to talk on the phone, get up and move. You can do this at work or at home. Get into the habit of pacing. Motion generates emotion, which may actually help you to communicate better by walking around as you talk on the phone.

13. Get a Stand Up Desk

Many office workers feel that they are forced to sit down most of the day. Standing desks are great options as they allow you to comfortably stand while working, which not only has health benefits (that stretch beyond simply not sitting all of the time) but has also been linked with increased productivity.

Woman Yoga Pose

14. Chose Active Activities and Vacations

Rather than opting for inactive activities, like going out to a movie with friends, opt for active ones, like playing tennis with friends. Play with a Wii instead of video games or go for a walk rather than grabbing dessert together.

When you plan your vacations, opt for a region that allows for some walking and hiking. Walk around new cities rather than driving around the entire time. Use resort pools and exercise facilities while visiting. Also consider trying new activities if you have never done them, like white water rafting and skiing.

15. Use an Activity Tracker

Activity trackers, like Fitbits, help users to determine how many steps they take each day. They also help to motivate wearers to be active and send reminders to move if they have been inactive for a specific period of time. You can set achievable goals to help you to get in the habit of moving – and to stay moving.

Over time, these tips can help you to get into the habit of adopting an active lifestyle over a sedentary lifestyle. In the long run, you will find yourself to be healthier and happier as a result of making wise lifestyle choices.

– Physical Activity

https://www.who.int/en/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/physical-activity

 

– OBESITY: OVERVIEW OF AN EPIDEMIC

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3228640/

 

– Interindividual Variation in Posture Allocation: Possible Role in Human Obesity

https://science.sciencemag.org/content/307/5709/584

 

– Risks of Physical Inactivity

https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/health/conditions-and-diseases/risks-of-physical-inactivity

 

– Impact of physical activity on the risk of cardiovascular disease in middle-aged and older adults: EPIC Norfolk prospective population study

https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/full/10.1177/2047487317737628

 

– Endorphins and Exercise

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/6091217

 

– Exercise for Mental Health

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1470658/

 

– 4 Ways Standing Desks Improve Employee Productivity

https://flexispot.com/spine-care-center/4-ways-standing-desks-improve-employee-productivity/

 

– The Use of Wearable Activity Trackers Among Older Adults: Focus Group Study of Tracker Perceptions, Motivators, and Barriers in the Maintenance Stage of Behavior Change

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6473213/

 

– Users’ experiences of wearable activity trackers: a cross-sectional study

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5688726/

Physical Inactivity Can Lead To Unhealthy Lifestyle Habits

Modern advances in technology have afforded us many luxuries in life, making our lives much easier in many ways, but they have also caused many to lead a more sedentary lifestyle. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), 60 to 85% of the worldwide population fails to engage in enough physical activity. Living a sedentary lifestyle is a significant health issue and is considered to be one of the biggest driving factors of the obesity epidemic. Leading a life of physical inactivity is also the fourth leading risk factor for mortality worldwide.

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