It’s very easy to get caught up in sedentary lifestyle, especially if you have a demanding job. How common it has become for people to engage in lives that rotate around an office desk, a car and a couch. In fact, the most exercise some of you get is dancing in church, or a nightclub, whatever floats your boat.
Let me give you a little perspective on why this is important. Sedentary lifestyle is a medical term used to describe a lifestyle with little or no physical activity. It is characterized by sitting, reading, watching television or using the computer for much of the day, with little or no vigorous physical exercise. Basically sitting on your ass full time results in you having between 1.5 and 2.4 times the risk for developing coronary heart disease, comparable to that observed for high blood cholesterol, high blood pressure or cigarette smoking.
A sedentary lifestyle increases the risk of developing diabetes, hypertension, colon cancer, depression and anxiety, obesity, and weak muscles and bones. This is confirmed, and if you doubt me, take a hard look at yourself. You know how much exercise you do or don’t do, you know your own eating habits, and you know your lifestyle! You know if you’re at risk or not. It is estimated that physical inactivity is responsible for 1 in 10 deaths worldwide, scared yet? You should be, especially here in Nigeria where we are losing more and more of our peers to lifestyle choices.
When I talk to people about exercise, the main excuse I hear is being too busy or having too much work. It is recommended that an individual should participate in a minimum of 150 minutes of moderate exercise, or 75 minutes of a more vigorous regiment. Most health professionals are also in agreement that walking 10,000 steps a day (approximately 5 miles) is the ideal goal to set for improving health and reducing the health risks caused by inactivity. Traditional thought suggests that having a healthy diet and getting aerobic exercise will offset the effects of time spent being sedentary.
Truth is even if you exercise for 30 minutes a day, you may not be able to counteract the effects brought on by a lack of activity throughout the rest of your day. Rather, the solution seems to be less sitting and more moving overall. This is only possible if you can stay active during your working hours. Stop thinking of movement as a chore and start seeing it as a necessity. If you still balk at what I’m saying, just read those statistics again.
It’s not all doom and gloom in today’s piece, I do have some tips for you to apply to your daily grind, things that, if you do them regularly, will eventually become a habit.. 30 days to be precise. Try these on Monday; even if you only take on a few, it’s still a big help.
– Take the stairs instead of the elevator, no matter what floor! #no-brainer
– Take your exercise gear to work and go to the gym during your lunch break.
– Stretching is a very important part of exercise, so get up from your desk and stretch periodically.
– Carry a squash ball with you and squeeze it regularly to strengthen arms and wrists. This is good for stress too.
– Sitting at your desk, rotate one foot to spell out the alphabet, repeat with other foot, do this at least three times during the day.
– Stand up and move around every time you get a phone call.
– Always have a bottle of water near you, aim for 8 glasses every day.
– Stretch your lower back while seated by reaching down and touching the floor, hold this for 15 seconds.
– Take regular walks for 10 minutes through the day.
– Print out your own documents.
– Don’t call a colleague in the same office, walk to their desk, movement is vital.
Who knows, you may just be in the mood for a proper workout at the end of the day. Please remember that sitting time is an independent risk factor. Even if you get 30 minutes of exercise every day, you are still at risk if you sit for more than four hours. So this applies at home too, don’t just park on the couch and watch back to back episodes of Blacklist.
Don’t forget to pay attention to what you’re eating, plan your meals so you don’t end up gorging on the wrong things. You are what you eat.