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How to Reduce the Risk of a Sedentary Lifestyle

 |  General

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, and easy access to every need through our smartphones, many people have adopted a sedentary or inactive lifestyle. What does that mean? It is a lifestyle that involves mostly sitting or lying down and includes very little exercise. An example of this would be sitting at your desk job most of the day, then going home and sitting down on the couch for the rest of the night. 

Risks 

The older we get, the more likely we will practice an inactive lifestyle. It is estimated that 67% of adults ages 26-65 report sitting for more than eight hours per day. This is more common with adults with desk jobs. According to Evelyn O’Neil, manager of outpatient exercise programs at the Harvard-affiliated Hebrew Rehabilitation Center, sitting has the same amount of health risks as smoking. Sitting constantly and getting very little movement can raise your risk of:

  • Obesity
  • Heart disease, high blood pressure, high cholesterol 
  • Stroke 
  • Blood clots 
  • Metabolic syndrome 
  • Type 2 diabetes
  • Certain cancers
  • Osteoporosis
  • Muscle loss 
  • Anxiety and depression 
  • Up and down sleep patterns
  • Brain fog 

How to Get Up and Moving

We understand that increasing movement throughout the day may be difficult, however, more movement IS possible. That’s why we put together a few tips and tricks to make small changes every day…

  • Walk more – Research says a daily 30-minute walk is helpful to lower cardiac disease. But if you can’t swing that, see if you can incorporate three 5 minute walks throughout the day.
    • Ex., Add activity before or after work, stretch, walk the long way to the bathroom, fill your water up at the furthest point, park at the back of the lot, take the stairs 
  • If you’re able, stand up once an hour for 15 minutes 
  • Do chores right after dinner instead of moving from your desk to the couch 
  • Go on a short walk before work, after work, or before or after dinner with your family and/or pets
  • While watching tv or having a movie night, make a point to get up during commercial breaks
    • Ex., Create a family competition to see who can do the most knee highs during a commercial break
  • Do heel raises while brushing your teeth, cooking dinner or breakfast
  • Stand up and pace while on the phone 
  • While cooking dinner, do two sets of 10 push-ups against the kitchen counter. 
  • Once a day, do 10 reps of stand and sit exercises.
    • One rep is rising from a chair without using your arms and then sitting back down.

Why Is This So Important 

Even increasing your movement by 30 minutes every day can…

  • Reduce anxiety and depression
  • Promote a healthy heart
  • Help you breathe better
  • Maintain a healthy weight 
  • Strengthen muscles
  • Increase energy

An inactive, or sedentary lifestyle, is linked to severe health conditions. You can reduce the risk of an inactive lifestyle by using the tips above, or make an appointment with your Bayless Integrated Healthcare provider at 602-230-7373 to discuss more!