You might wanna sit down for this….On second thought, you may wanna get up, and stay up. Because we’re about to lay down the statistics and discuss exactly why living a sedentary lifestyle is a serious health risk!
Now, we assume that you’ve probably got the nagging suspicion that sitting, slouching, and all-around-couch-potatoing is probably not the best thing for your longevity and overall well-being. You probably feel somewhere deep down that your body was not meant to laze the day away. But we can assure you, once you hear some sedentary lifestyle health statistics, the fire under your keister will be lit once and for all!
So get up, stand up, and read up on why we just can’t STAND the sedentary lifestyle!
The Definition of a Sedentary Lifestyle
First, let’s define the term. The Sedentary Behavior Research Network defines a sedentary, or inactive, activity as “any waking behavior such as sitting or leaning with an energy expenditure of 1.5 metabolic equivalent task (MET) or less.” This is the most commonly accepted definition, currently in use by the medical community. Rather than boring you with some pretty hefty math, here are a couple popular activities and their corresponding MET rates:
Take a look at the second task…bathing. Yes, bathing. That simple act of sitting on your behind and soaping yourself up (to the sweet sounds of Enya, we presume), is still a more vigorous activity than just sitting still. And guess what most of us do for MOST OF THE DAY AT WORK???
The Health Effects of a Sedentary Lifestyle
A mostly sedentary life can wreak havoc on our health and well-being. Here’s how:
Movement is one of the easiest and most underestimated ways to burn excess calories throughout the day. When we’re not moving , a majority of the calories we take in just sit in our systems, which can quickly turn into added weight.
Back, Hip & Muscle Issues
When we’re stationary for too long, we aren’t exercising our muscles and joints enough. And a few of the most important areas that support the structure of our bodies suffer tremendously: our largest leg and glute muscles can weaken, our hip flexor muscles can shorten, and our spinal discs can compress. Basically, most of the joints and muscles we need for our day-to-day activities simply shut down. This can mean prolonged reliance on pain medications, continuous doctors’ visits, and a lifetime of discomfort.
Anxiety, Stress & Depression
Physical exercise has been shown time and time again to elevate mood and reduce mental health issues. The opposite is also, sadly, very true. When we don’t move around enough, we’re more prone to depressive states and higher stress levels.
Cancer, Health Disease & Other Health Issues
So sitting for too long can cause physical pain, and bring your mood down and your weight up. So there’s that, and…well, here comes the REALLY bad stuff. A sedentary lifestyle can lead to serious health risks such as certain types of cancer, heart disease, diabetes, and deep vein thrombosis, to name a few.
Tips for a More Active Lifestyle
Ok, we hope all that stuff scared you straight (we know it shook us to our core!). Now, what can you do about it? Here are a few of our time-tested tips to promote a more active and healthy lifestyle.
Get a Standing Desk
If you’re sitting in an office for an extended period of time, a standing desk can be one of the most effective ways to get those steps in throughout your workday. You’d be surprised with how much movement we do when we take the simple act of getting up on our feet.
Take Regular Workout Breaks
They say that taking regular screen-breaks is necessary to avoid digital eye strain in the workplace. So why not kill two birds with one stone and go for a quick walk every hour? Not only will you save your eyes, but you’ll get in those daily step counts at the same time.
Try an Online Workout Routine
Let’s face it, going to the gym every day can be a tall order. From getting dressed, packing your gym bag, and driving to your local fitness center, not all of us have the time (or energy) to make it work. Which is why we’re suggesting diving headfirst in a virtual workout platform that delivers a whole host of online fitness classes that you can do from the comfort of wherever, with the convenience of whenever!
At Studio SWEAT onDemand, we offer an endless library of workouts including Indoor Cycling, Kickboxing, HIIT, Tabata, Yoga, Pilates, Barre, Zumba, Body Sculpting, TRX, and a whole lot more! And they’re all taught by passionate, world-class instructors, and feature real people, getting real results! Wanna dip your toes into the virtual fitness pool? Check out our 7-Day Free Trial today. We promise, once you take one of our onDemand classes, you’ll never sit one out again!