Living a sedentary lifestyle has become a growing issue for people all around the world. Many people will typically spend hours of their day sitting down or being physically inactive. This includes time spent sitting in the car, at a desk or in meetings, on the couch or in bed in front of a screen. To be healthy we need to overcome a sedentary lifestyle.
Technology makes it easy for us to achieve many of our daily tasks whilst sitting down. With many people unexpectedly isolated and working from home due to recent events, it can become increasingly difficult to reduce sedentary time throughout the day.
A sedentary lifestyle can potentially lead to serious health problems. It increases the risk of cardiovascular disease, diabetes and obesity. It also has a negative impact on your mental health.
The good news is that to overcome a sedentary lifestyle doesn’t require a complete overhaul of your life. It can be done with small, simple steps to reduce your physical inactivity and benefit your wellbeing. Here are 8 simple ways you can overcome a sedentary lifestyle.
1. Go For A Walk/Run
Going for a walk or run is an easy and effective way to combat a sedentary lifestyle. Try taking a walk or jogging around the block during a lunch break or in the morning/evening.
This will be especially helpful if you are working from home. There are many health benefits to walking and jogging. It can reduce damage to leg arteries from sitting too much, and lower the risk of cardiovascular disease.
2. Exercise Wherever You Can
Look for any opportunities to move around and engage your muscles. Try taking the stairs instead of the elevator, or set hourly reminders to get up and stretch or take a walk around the house/office.
Multitasking is also a great way to combat being sedentary. You could try standing or pacing whilst on the phone, or have a walk-and-talk meeting with a colleague. You can even stay active with stationary exercises when at your desk.
3. Find Fun Ways To Stay Fit
Finding the motivation to exercise can be a challenge for many people. If exercise feels like a chore or you don’t want to join a gym, there are plenty of other fun ways to stay active. Dancing is a great way to stay fit and has many benefits.
It improves cardiovascular health, balance and strength, and is a fun way to boost your mood. Another creative approach to staying fit is trampolining.
Jumping on a trampoline is a fun way to work out your whole body. It’s easy on your joints and can be enjoyed by anyone regardless of age or fitness level.
Sitting at a desk all day is a key factor in a sedentary lifestyle. However there are several alternative workstation arrangements that can help combat this.
You could try a standing desk or sitting on a Swiss exercise ball. These are great ways to reduce the strain of sitting and engage your core muscles.
The way you get around is also a factor in a sedentary lifestyle. Consider cycling or walking instead of driving. Even if it’s not possible to cycle or walk to work, you could still do it when running errands or going to and from other places in your daily life.
When driving or using public transport, consider parking further away or getting off the bus a few stops early so you can walk some of the distance.
Gardening is an excellent way to stay active at home. There are many wonderful benefits to gardening. It can help burn calories, lower blood pressure and relieve stress.
Even if you have limited space, you can make use of vertical planters or use a patio or windowsill space to grow smaller plants.
7. Household Activities
Even household chores like vacuuming or doing dishes and laundry count as physical activity. Doing a bit of housework in the morning and evening can help fight off fatigue and give you more time to focus on other things during the day.
These everyday tasks combined with other physical activity can be helpful when working from home or on your day off.
8. Be Active In Your Off-Time
While you should do as much as you can to minimise physical inactivity, sometimes being sedentary at work can’t be avoided. This is why it’s important to balance it out by being active in your off-time.
Consider hobbies that get you up and moving around outside. This could be things like hiking, surfing, exercise classes or sports. If you want to keep it simple, regular trips to the beach or the park with friends and family is an easy way to stay active.
One of the most important aspects to combating a sedentary lifestyle is to be aware of your habits. Once you’re thinking consciously about the time you spend sitting or being physically inactive, it will be easier to make changes.
Try working some of these simple tips into your daily routine to help overcome a sedentary lifestyle.
You can find much more information on living a holistic lifestyle in these free magazines and on our YouTube channel.
Auckland-based writer Harper crafts articles for various sites and blogs, while balancing trying to stay fit and healthy, and not forgetting to have a little fun along the way. Check out more of her work on her Tumblr page.