Let me guess. Chances are you are reading this while sitting down. How long have you been sitting there? Okay, okay. Relax. I am not one to tell you what to do. I am sitting as well! Yes. And that’s okay too. What I want you to think about is how often do you sit down and not get up. In your office, on the couch, at the dining table, and in your car. Waiting for your bus, or in class, scrolling through your phone – most of the day practically! How can you overcome a sedentary lifestyle and implement more movement into your already busy days?A sedentary lifestyle usually sneaks in on us, and while you might be living outside of the US and be more mobile daily …our stats are terrifying. Here are some facts:
1) Sedentary jobs have increased 83% since 1950;
2) On average, 25% of Americans don’t exercise;
3) Obesity rates are close to 30-35% in some states!
Living a Sedentary lifestyle is slowly killing us
Many health organizations are screaming the facts and numbers in our faces about how dangerous sedentary behavior is, and this is only scratching the surface. The number of people casually idling on their couch, chair, car seat, bar stool are climbing up as well the people’s stress, sleep deprivation, lack of vitamin D and rising exhaustion levels. It is scary, indeed.
Not only are you surrounded by loads and loads of processed, poisonous foods, our environment has been providing with even more comfort and convenience for us to stay put. All you need is to reach for the remote, cell phone or a cooling storage inside of your chair (they exist!) – you can get anything you want to be delivered to your couch or office by pushing a few buttons. Who wants to move if you don’t have to?! It is in our nature to want to conserve energy and take the easiest routes possible.
Let’s focus on something positive – on how you can slowly add more movement to your daily routines, and instead of dealing with heart disease, joint problems, metabolic issues and gaining weight, we will think about doing your best to avoid these challenges. How can you benefit from saying goodbye to sitting down a lot?
Benefits of movement
- Balanced weight. It is pretty logical and simple: the move you move, the fewer pounds will stick to you. Take into account, you need to eat wholesome foods to nourish your body.
- Heart health. Better blood circulation and more oxygen will lead to a stronger and healthier heart.
- Better metabolism. We all want that.
- Improved mood and clearer thinking. That’s right. Feeling good, thinking straight, and having more energy will be beneficial even for the healthiest of us!
- Joint and bone health.
- Happier person. Movement causes the release of hormones which help elevate our mood and keep our blood moving in a more regular fashion. Kind of logical, right?
How I adjusted my sedentary lifestyle
I love to work out, and I love working. Working means a lot of time at the computer nowadays. I was way more mobile and moved much more when I had a corporate job (I also had to commute across the country for 20+ hours weekly). I would go to grab a cup of coffee, refill my water bottle, walk at lunch, and walk around the office every hour or so, whether it was to get to a meeting or shake up my legs. When I started running my own business from the comfort of my home, I would spend hours at my desk. Sure, I would go work out in the evening. On the other hand, doing something exciting and requiring a lot of work would make me forget to eat or move for hours!
In a couple of months like that my back was complaining, I started slouching, and overall feeling less energized. I did not want to gain weight or feel yucky doing something I love. So I started working on changing up my routines. Here is what you can do too to improve your sedentary lifestyle. Yes, you can still work 40+hours a week if you are a workaholic like me ;)
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How to overcome your sedentary lifestyle
1. Take breaks.
Make sure to take a break about every hour. Yes, I know you are super busy at work, but you can definitely use 2-3 minutes to walk around, get a cup of coffee, use a restroom or stop to say hi to your colleague. Studies have shown, taking a 5-10 minute break to stretch and move around every 45-60 minutes can actually dramatically improve your productivity, reinvigorate your focus and keep yourself more energized.
2. Walk at lunch. Eat your lunch out.
Don’t sit glued to your screen eating a salad while reading another financial report, please! It’s bad for your posture, digestion, brain, and the entire body! Grab your lunch and go to a park. If it’s too cold out, go to the mall. Eat out if you can afford it. Ask a friend to join you and walk to a cafe/restaurant nearby.
3. Get a standing desk or a walking treadmill.
They are expensive but your health is too. In fact, your health is priceless so if there is only one way you could overcome your sedentary lifestyle by walking at work, do that! Your blood pressure, weight management, back pain and energy levels will improve dramatically! Check this desk out.
4. Working from home.
Use a low table or switch poses. Our hip flexors get tight, our back gets tired and sore, and our neck muscles are overused as well! Try the lotus pose while sitting at a coffee table. Get on your knees (if they are healthy) and use a knee pad (yeah, I am weird like that). Use a Swiss ball chair. The goal is to switch things up so your body feels less fatigued and more refreshed!
Do you know how our pets stretch a lot after they slept or changed a pose? It is a natural mechanism for them to prevent feeling static and make sure the blood circulates properly. As one of my coaches would say, “Be more dog!”. Stretch out for 3-5 minutes a few times a day.
6. Commit to a challenge.
Partner up with a colleague, friend, or your significant other and do a push-up, plank, sit up, or any other mini-fitness challenge. While you might look weird doing planks in your cubicle, I can almost guarantee not many people will notice. We are too busy! If they do, offer them to join you, and start a trend. Boom.
7. Adjust how you do things.
Take your phone calls standing up. Leave the car and talk on the phone walking in the mall. Park far away from the restaurant you are going to. Get off the couch and go pull the weeds out from your backyard – there are plenty of causes to move some more and move more often.
8. Use the staircase.
Modern culture and city infrastructures have us spoiled. If you want to overcome a sedentary lifestyle even faster, create those daily challenges for yourself and stick to the routine: Use the staircase up and down. Park in the furthest stop away from the elevator. Skip airport shuttles and walk through the terminals (You can log a good mile or two extra!).
9. Get a Fitbit, a step counter or a walking app.
Those are fun to have! They motivate us to move more and often engage with people with the same fitness goals. Even if you are a gym rat, you might not be getting enough movement daily. Frequency and consistency do matter. My favorite gadget is this one.
10. Get a dog.
Seriously. My body fat went down 5% in just 2 months after getting a puppy…Need I say I’ve got a super excited labrador puppy….
Do you move often at work and home? What are your favorite ways to sneak in more steps and moves?