You hear all about the benefits of working out and being active, but did you ever wonder just how bad being inactive really is for you? It's important to understand that it's not so much that being active makes you healthier, it's that being sedentary actually makes you unhealthy. You need to have some level of activity just to maintain your health, and if you're not feeling well and healthy, then it may be because you're sitting too much. Take a look at how being too inactive can affect you, and how you can start improving your health with more activity.
What Happens When You Sit Too Much?
When you spend long hours working behind a desk, you may expend a lot of mental energy, and you may not feel very much like doing physical activity during your office hours. Sitting on the couch and binge-watching Netflix may feel a lot more relaxing. However, you'll pay for those couch potato tendencies with your health. Inactivity leads to obesity and contributes to illnesses like diabetes and cancer.
It can also contribute to heart disease. In fact, research has shown that each hour of television you watch increases your risk of death caused by cardiovascular disease by as much as 18%. Getting off the couch and increasing your activity level may actually save your life.
Start With "NEAT" Activities
Start small and work your way up to more strenuous workouts.
Luckily, you don't have to become a marathon runner overnight in order to improve your health. You can start burning more calories and get on the road to wellness by making small changes in your daily routine. For example, you can choose to snack a little healthier at work or do non-exercise activity thermogenesis (NEAT) activities. These are small activities like stretching, bending, and turning.
You should do NEAT activities for about 10 minutes every hour. These are activities that you can do standing by your desk at work, and even if you're out of shape, you can do these activities while you work your way up to more strenuous exercises.
Find Reasons to Walk
Just walking is an important way of getting more activity in your day. Get a pedometer so that you can track the amount of steps you take every day, and then start looking for ways to increase that number. You'd be surprised how easy it is to add steps to your daily routine once you start looking for reasons to walk.
In the corporate world, if you need to get a message to your coworker, walk down the hall and deliver it in person instead of using email or instant messenger. If time permits, hop on the treadmill at your offices' corporate wellness center for a few minutes and walk. If you need to pick up a gallon of milk, walk to the nearest store instead of driving. Take the stairs instead of an elevator whenever you have the option. When you do watch television, take a walk around the house on commercial breaks or between episodes.
Even when you don't have the time for a workout, you don't have to let a sedentary lifestyle ruin your health. There are a lot of small things that you can do to improve your health and well-being, and as you start to feel healthier and more energetic, you'll have more motivation to devote time to more intense workouts. To find out more about how to integrate activity with a sit-down lifestyle, contact us.