In mere decades, technological advances have made our modern lifestyles convenient, efficient, exciting, but also highly sedentary. Based on statistics from the World Health Organization (WHO), between 60 to 85 percent of the global population are not getting enough physical activity. In fact, the lack of movement is number four on the list as a risk factor for death around the world.
It is a massive problem on an individual as well as global scale. Insufficient physical activity can lead to an increased risk of a multitude of health issues including several cancers, high blood pressure, heart disease, depression and anxiety, as well as obesity, the loss of bone density and muscle mass, diabetes and high cholesterol levels.
Are You Living a Sedentary Lifestyle?
What constitutes a sedentary lifestyle and are you engaging in it? Experts recommend that a person should get in at least 150 minutes of moderate exercise every week (alternatively, an individual could also engage in 75 minutes of vigorous activity). Alternatively, you could get yourself a tracking app to ensure that you are walking 10,000 steps every day to offset all the sitting that we do.
If you are not doing any of these at the bare minimum, then you are one of many millions of people who live a sedentary lifestyle.
Ways to Be More Active on a Daily Basis
While it would be ideal to be able to carve out time to go to the gym or participate in a sporting activity (tennis, soccer, swimming, etc.), it can be hard for many of us to find the time to do so several times a week. Which is why it is terribly important to figure out all the different ways that one can incorporate more physical movement in your daily activities. Here are six great ways to turn your sedentary lifestyle into a healthy and active one.
Add Some Steps to Your Daily Commute
Because our daily commute often involves sitting in a bus or train, think about setting off for work a little earlier and getting off one to two stops before and walking the rest of the way. If your commute is by car, find a parking spot furthest away from the entrance so that you have to take more steps. And if you happen to live in close proximity to your place of work, you may want to consider walking to and from your office or even getting on a bicycle and getting to work that way instead.
Take a Standing Position
While at work, take a stand whenever you can. Are you on the phone a lot? Make your calls while standing up and even throw in a few stretches while at it. If you have to check with Peter over at Human Resource about a thing, don’t call, send a text or email. Instead, walk over and have a face-to-face conversation. If your office allows, you could also consider investing in a desk that can easily switch from a sitting to standing position. That will definitely cut out a significant amount of your sitting time.
Take a Walking Break
Are you feeling that post-lunch slump? Skip the coffee (and sugary snack) run. Instead, go for a walking break. Better still if you are able to get outdoors for some fresh air. All you need is 10 to 15 minutes in the afternoon. Besides the fact that it will do a good job of keeping off the tummy fat, it is also a healthy way to get rid of the mid-afternoon crash we are all so familiar with. You’ll be back at your desk with a clearer head and a chipper mood, ready to face the rest of the day.
Don’t Rely, D-I-Y
You may be in a position where you have a personal assistant who makes your coffee and runs your errands. But that is just one other reason that keeps you planted in your chair. For the sake of your health, you may want to consider getting some of these things done yourself. Head to the pantry and get your own caffeine—you know best how you like your coffee, anyway. Need to make some copies? Do it yourself.
Fix Your Own Dinner
Speaking of D-I-Y, have you thought about whipping up your own meals more often? When you are on your feet prepping and chopping your meat and veggies, and working up a sweat stir-frying, you are burning more calories than you think. Besides, when you make your own meals, it is often more nutritious and lower in calories than your takeout or microwaveable meal, which is a good thing for your waistline and your health.
Invest in an Exercise Machine
Are you someone who spends a lot of time chilling out in front of the TV every day? Space and budget permitting, you could invest in a stationary bike, treadmill or rowing machine. Instead of sitting on your couch, you can get in a decent workout at least three times a week on the exercise machine. Who knows? You may end up doing more than the minimum because you enjoy it more than you expected.