Do you sit in an office chair or on your couch for more than six hours a day? Then here are some disturbing facts: Your risk of heart disease has increased by up to 64 percent.
You’re shaving off seven years of quality life. You’re also more at risk for certain types of cancer. Simply put, sitting is killing you. That’s the bad news. The good news: It’s easy to counteract no matter how lazy you are.
Everyone wants to have a nice, long life. However, the more you sit, the more you’re reducing your life span. In fact, sitting or having a sedentary lifestyle increases your risk of cardiovascular-related death, diabetes, cardiovascular disease and even the risk of any death.
Sitting around all day long for a single day can decrease your insulin sensitivity, resulting in higher blood sugar levels.
A sedentary lifestyle alters various metabolic pathways and genes that work to determine the way that your cells function. Plenty of research shows beyond doubt that being sedentary can cause many different diseases.
Just one day of sitting decreases insulin sensitivity, which elevates blood sugar and forces the body to produce more insulin to effectively metabolize incoming carbohydrates.
You Probably Aren’t As Active as You Think
Your first instinct may be to think that this article doesn’t apply to you. You take 20 minutes to exercise daily. However, studies show that most Americans are not as active as they think.
One study showed that while many Americans said that they were active when activity was measured, only about 5% of Americans are active.
Sure, heading to the gym for 30 minutes is great. However, your activity level isn’t just based upon that time you spend exercising, but how you spend the rest of your day. You could be a couch potato even if you work out regularly.
Even those who head to the gym or out for a run each day spend a lot of time being sedentary, and while exercising help, being sedentary the rest of the day nearly erases all the benefits of exercising.
A Sedentary Lifestyle Results in an Unhealthy Body
It’s important to realize that a sedentary lifestyle results in an unhealthy body. When you sit for long periods of time, it is simply unhealthy.
While television has often been blamed for all the sitting we do, it is lifestyle habits and the fact that more people than ever have sedentary jobs.
Today the average individual is significantly less active than individuals were back in the 1800s. In fact, most Americans walk on average about 5 miles less each day than our ancestors did a couple of centuries ago.
For this reason, many experts note that walking five miles, or 10,000 steps, each day can be a great way to reduce sitting and increase overall health.
Focusing on increasing overall activity while also engaging in regular, high-intensity exercise helps to lessen the risk of disease, reduce overall body fat and aid with weight loss.
Increase Activity Levels with These Steps
If you want to lengthen your life, it’s important to begin increasing your activity levels, going far beyond logging 30-60 minutes at the gym each day.
The following steps can be used to increase your overall activity, eliminating that sedentary lifestyle that can make your life shorter. Start following these steps to increasing activity, and you’ll be able to prevent many diseases and extend your life expectancy.
① Start Monitoring Your Activity Level
First, it is important to start monitoring your activity level, which allows you to find out how active you really are. Find a quality activity monitor that will give you quick feedback on your activity levels each day. Many monitors easily sync with a smartphone or computer.
For the first few days, use the monitor to see how many steps you are taking. Once you know how many steps you’re already taking, start increasing the steps you take until you are taking at least 10,000 steps every day.
② Try Making Changes at Work
Since work is a downfall for many people, try making changes at work that get you more active. Ask the company to start making changes that result in healthier, more productive employees. Standing desks, breaks to take a quick walk and other measures can be taken to get you more active while on the job.
③ Find New Ways to Get Active
Throughout your day, look for new ways that you can add some activity to your day. You’ll need to start finding ways to increase your activity, such as parking far from buildings so you walk further, heading to another floor to use the restroom, taking the stairs whenever possible or pacing when you’re taking phone calls at home or at the office.
④ Use Reminders to Ensure You Get More Active
It can be easy to forget to get up and move around when you are busy, so use reminders to ensure you get more active. Whenever you sit down, whether at home or on the job, set reminders that will remind you to get up and move around.
⑤ Add More Activity During Mornings and Nights
Last, make sure that you add more activity to your day during mornings and nights. Add a walk to your morning before you head to work and head outside for some activity after dinner instead of plopping down on the couch.
Every little bit of activity helps, so take those moments in the morning and evenings to get even more activity into your day.
⑥ Take a microbreak.
One of the reasons it’s so tough to maintain good posture at a desk is that your ligaments and other soft tissues start to deform after about 20 minutes in the same position, gradually giving your body a permanently chair-shaped appearance.
Fight this tendency with 1- to 5-minute breaks for every 20 minutes you’re at work: Stretch, breathe, focus your eyes on a distant object. You’ll come back to work refreshed and recommitted.
How Active Are You?
There is a vast difference between peoples’ perceptions of how active they are and the reality of their levels of activity. Sixty-five percent of
Americans say they are “active,” but according to studies done by actually measuring activity, only 5% of the population is active. It’s time to get moving, my friends, moving more may save your life.