We are born active. Humans are not meant to live as sedentary creatures. Even back then, pre-historic human beings lived their life hunting, farming, building, and engaging in many physical activities.
Fast forward to today’s millennial lifestyle, most of the people spend almost half of their life sitting. Not only at work, but also when playing, add another part of driving or not maybe commuting.
Some would consider this as some kind of relaxation, prolonged sitting can eventually cause harmful effects to our overall health.
Scientific pieces of evidence suggest that sedentary behavior may negatively impact our body. Too bad, most of us are in working conditions that require a lot of time sitting.
ARE YOU LEADING A SEDENTARY LIFESTYLE?
A sedentary lifestyle is one with a lot of sitting and lying down, with very little to no exercise. And if you sit a lot at work during weekdays and you love being a couch potato during weekends, then yes you are part of the 70% of people worldwide leading a sedentary lifestyle.
Your lifestyle is sedentary especially if you don’t receive regular amounts of physical activity and fails to meet the Center for Disease Control (CDC) recommended minutes of active exercise.
According to CDC, a minimum of 150 minutes of moderate exercise, or 75 minutes of a more vigorous routine is a sign of an average active lifestyle.
Moreover, walking 1000 steps a day (approximately 5 miles) is the ideal goal to set for improving health and reduced the risks caused by inactivity.
RISKS OF INACTIVE LIFESTYLE
Affects your mood and memory
When you are physically inactive, your brain suffers too. Sedentary adults are just as likely to develop dementia as people who are genetically predisposed to the condition.
Moreover, studies suggest that those who sat for more than 6 hours a day are 90% more likely to feel moderate psychological distress. When you exercise, your body releases loads of mood-boosting and feel-good hormones.
That is why if you are very inactive, you are missing out on these benefits and starts to feel all sorts of emotions from anxiety, nervousness, restlessness and more.
Increased risks of cancer
Sedentary behavior significantly increases your risk for several types of cancer. People with most sitting time experienced a 24% higher risk of developing colon cancer, a 32% higher risk of endometrial cancer, and a 21% higher risk of lung cancer.
Slows down sex life
Inactivity can lead to weight gain. And according to studies, men with bigger belly or waist, are more than twice more likely to have erectile dysfunction than the others.
Furthermore, those who binged watch for more than 5 hours a day had 29% lower sperm concentration than those who don’t.
Increased Back Ache
Prolonged sitting can increase pressure on the disks in your lower back that can lead to disk degeneration – a common cause of back pain.
It really helps if you are sitting in the correct position to minimize the damage of prolonged sitting.
Increased risks of diabetes and cardiovascular diseases
When you are inactive, you burn fewer calories that make you likely to gain weight. When this happens, your metabolism is affected and your body may have trouble breaking down fats and sugars.
This will make you more susceptible to various cardiovascular diseases and will increase your risk of diabetes.
WAYS YOU CAN REVERSE BAD EFFECTS OF SEDENTARY LIFESTYLE
Move around. Get up and walk around, take advantage of micro-breaks every 20 to 30 minutes. You can make use of alarms to remind you to get up and move.
Also, you can bend your waist, roll your shoulders, or take deep breaths to relieve muscle tension. You also have the option to use your break to walk around outside your office, don’t forget to take the stairs instead of the elevator.
Stay in alignment. There are a lot of factors that lead to the increased of a sedentary lifestyle – technology. Technology has brought more inactive modes of transit, increase in sedentary jobs, and developed more activities that can be done while sitting (TV, internet, video games, etc.)
When you cannot escape these inactive activities, you might as well reduce the risks of bad effects by knowing the healthier sitting position.
This is the same posture you have when driving a car. Just sit back and place your feet in front of your knees and make sure that nobody part is twisted, hunched or unaligned.
Maintain a healthy diet. At home, be active and prepare your own healthy meal. This will help you get busy and get you moving around.
If you’re worried this will take up too much of your time before or after work, there are a lot of quick, healthy and delicious meals and snacks that you can easily prepare a home. Check out the list below: