7 Ways to Combat a Sedentary Lifestyle
An increasingly sedentary lifestyle is one of the greatest afflictions of our modern existence and a major cause of the obesity epidemic. Research has found that being sedentary, including sitting for longer than four hours per day, greatly increases the risk of cardiovascular disease and diabetes. Below are seven ways by which you can combat and escape falling into the too-sedentary trap.
Walking 30 Minutes a Day Keeps Fat Away. The minimum daily requirement of exercise to prevent weight gain is 30 minutes a day of walking or 12 miles a week of walking or running. The CDC says, "Strong scientific evidence shows that physical activity can help you maintain your weight over time." Those who walked briskly or otherwise achieved moderate-intensity exercise for at least 30 minutes every day had a low risk of sudden cardiac death. Other research has shown that walking can prevent dementia better than any number of crossword puzzles can.
Studies have found that stair climbing, which is considered vigorous-intensity physical activity, burns more calories per minute than jogging.
A great deal of research points to the all-too-common sedentary lifestyle of today’s technologically advanced world as a major contributing factor to the global obesity epidemic. Taking the stairs whenever possible is a quick and easy way to break out of that sedentary lifestyle and add more physical activity and movement to your everyday life.
If you have a job or any other occupational activity that requires you to sit, make it a point to stand up at least every 20 minutes. Take calls standing up. Stand up and get a drink of water. Stand up and walk over to the next cubicle or down the hallway to deliver news to a co-worker.
Instead of moving from table to couch, get up and clean your kitchen after dinner. You will be standing up and doing the dishes, then engaging in more physical activity as you clean the countertops, sweep the floor, etc. This will help you continue the increased physical activity and helps lower blood sugar levels as well as the risk of insulin resistance in the long run.
If you’re eating out (which we don’t encourage, especially if you are trying to lose weight, because eating out tends to lead to overeating), plan to take a nice walk after your dinner.
If you enjoy watching sports or binging on Netflix at home, you can use commercial breaks or in between episodes as more time for physical activity. Standing up and doing something during breaks—whether it be folding clothes, doing a few push-ups or sit-ups, or any number of other activities—will break up the extra sedentary time that tends to accrue during most, if not all, screen-based activities.
You don’t have to be a marathon runner to enjoy the benefits of running. A recent study found that running for as little as five to 10 minutes per day at slow speeds (less than six miles per hour) was associated with significantly reduced risks of death from all causes and from cardiovascular disease.
Whenever you can do so safely, make it a point to park a little farther away from your destination, so you have to walk a few steps more. Every step count’s and these extra steps will add up throughout the day to increase your overall physical activity. Wondering how many steps you’re taking on a daily basis? A number of pedometers are now on the market in every shape and color, it seems, and tracking your steps may help you get more active and lose more weight in the long term.
A body in motion stays in motion! If, you can do many or all of the above, you will be well on your way to staying in motion, which is key for lifelong health.