There’s no denying that modern advances have definitely made our lives easier, but on the other hand, they could also be having a detrimental effect on our health.
Many of us today are adopting a sedentary lifestyle – and moving around less while spending more time sitting down has been linked to a number of health conditions. In 2010, the research found that a sedentary lifestyle can increase your risk of health conditions like strokes, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and obesity-related conditions.
But if you work in an office job and can’t help but spend a lot of your time sitting down, taking steps to counter the effects of a sedentary lifestyle can seem difficult. The good news is that there are several things that you can do to reduce your risk of health complications and be healthier overall.
For starters, make sure you are eating a diet high in whole grains. The American Heart Association suggests consuming at least five to six servings of whole-grain foods a day. Eating more of these foods, rather than less, will reduce the overall amount of calories in your diet, keeping you at a healthier weight and potentially reducing your risk for heart disease and some cancers. For more information on the benefits of whole grains, you can check out this article.
All of the same healthy eating guidelines you’d use for any other diet, you’d want to maintain this lifestyle to maintain a healthy heart. A healthy diet should also keep your cholesterol levels within healthy levels.
1. Walk Often
Simply going for a walk can make a huge difference to your health, and the best part is that pretty much anybody can do it, regardless of what kind of job you work in, and the other commitments that you have.
Walking to work instead of driving, if you can, will make a huge difference to the amount of activity you take part in each week, or you could even suggest walking meetings at work instead of sitting down. Or increase your activity before and after work by walking – if you have a dog, take them out for longer.
2. Get Enough Quality Sleep
The effects of a sedentary lifestyle can be enhanced even further if you’re not sleeping well at night either. Sleep is a physiological necessity.
Sleep is important for maintaining metabolic homeostasis, increasing cortisol production and inhibiting fat-storing enzymes such as lipase and lipoprotein lipase (LPL). But even in healthy individuals, sleeping too little is bad news. Depriving a person of sleep for one night will tend to cause disturbances to insulin secretion and fat metabolism. This leads to weight gain in the following days leading to continued weight gain until sleeping patterns are re-established or restored.
So getting out and being more active will help you to sleep better, and there are several other things you can do to make sure that you’re getting deep and restful sleep every night. For example, upgrade your mattress to one that offers solid support and ensure that you avoid waking up in the night with aches and pains.
If you’ve had your current mattress for some time, chances are that it’s not as supportive as it once was. You can click here to learn more about quality mattresses which can ease your back pains. If you are going to make the investment to buy a bed, ensure that it is safe and secure. This could also be an indication that the bed is quality.
3. Stand Up Regularly
If you work in an office job or another position where you are required to sit down for most of the day, then you can make a difference by making a conscious effort to stand up regularly. Every half an hour or so, get up and stand for a few minutes – even have a short stroll around the office to stretch your legs, if you can.
If this is hard to do because you’re always focused on a project, you might want to suggest the idea of standing desks to your boss – they allow you to continue working uninterrupted while you stand.
4. Do the Housework
If you’ve been putting off giving your home a spring clean for some time, then there’s no better excuse than your health to get it done. Remember that doing everyday household chores like cooking at the stove, washing the dishes, and brushing the floor all count as activity and allow you to stand up for longer periods throughout the day while being productive in your home at the same time.
Other examples of everyday activities that you can promote within your day while still being productive are baking, gardening, and going to the mailbox.
My question is, do you do any of the actions above? What made you think about going overboard in the way you organize your home?
5. Find an Activity You Enjoy
When you find an exercise that you genuinely enjoy, there’s no denying that it’s much easier to incorporate it into your routine. Try different things – yoga, swimming, jogging, cycling or weight lifting are all excellent choices – to find your favorite one and take the time to do it several times a week. If you want to increase your strength and power, find an area where you can do lots of repetitions.
Try a gymnastics class or Crossfit – do cardio at home! Be comfortable around others – I’m a male athlete, so I’m not saying that women don’t need physical confidence – you do, after all. But, if you want to build confidence for athletics and athletic pursuits, you’ll need to learn to get along with the guys in your training group. So, use the awesome part of your brain – social skills – to get past this!
These are just some of the best ways to counter the risks of a sedentary lifestyle – but anything that gets you in a standing position encourages you to move around, and improves the quality of your health, wellness and sleep will help.