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Why Lack of Movement is Our Biggest Enemy and How to Deal With It

Why Lack of Movement is Our Biggest Enemy and How to Deal With It

However far apart, our mornings are probably just the same. There’s that sting in the eyes you feel as soon as you open them and that blatant pain that keeps on spreading from your lower back all the way up to your shoulders and head. And, finally, the realization that nothing will change, not even today – in the exact same order as the years before, you’ll have some pastry and coffee for breakfast, a tense stomach until noon, and a fuzzy head throughout the day.

Accepting Responsibility

    Once again, you’ll hear all about the glorious possibilities that the digital age has endowed us with, and once again, you’ll go to bed wondering what makes your muscles so sore and your bones so weak. Another day, you’ll come across an article about all those troubling consequences of a sedentary lifestyle and you’ll try to convince yourself that your fatigue and stress are caused by too much work.

    Having gone through all of that myself, I must warn you that extrinsic factors are not always to blame. Your aching lack of movement is a modern disease, indeed, but it still begins in your mind-set. Your choices might be your worst enemy, but the good news is that you can change them for the better.

    It will be hard, I won’t delude you. But, once you start waking up with the sun on your eyelids and a smile on your face, you’ll see that it was all worth it.Here’s how to flip your future beforehand, and replace pain, frustration and dispiritedness for vigour, achievements and contentment.

    Flight or Fight

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      It would be foolish of me to assume that you have never tried dealing with your sedentary lifestyle before, so I won’t tell you that everything begins with a plan. The biggest problem, after all, is that all of your organization tricks have probably already failed you, and what you need now is encouragement to carry on.

      So, instead of advising you to set up your morning alarm to go off an hour earlier, I’ll remind you of the consequences that await you if you don’t. The terrifying prospect of what my body will feel and look like if I continue choosing Netflix and TV dinners over walks in the rain and oranges was what urged me to make a change, and the same basic fight-or-flight response rests in each and every one of us.

      In the Aftermath

        You’re most certainly already experiencing some of the side-effects of an inactive life. I’ve mentioned only a couple of them before simply because they are the most common. As such, they are simultaneously infallible indicators of a decaying body and mind, and a red alert that keeps warning you to get up and start moving.

        Even though you spend a majority of your time seated – be that at work, where your job is to tirelessly type and click, or at home, where everything you want to do after a whole day of looking up to the screen is look up to the screen a bit more – you somehow cannot get enough rest. You’re constantly tired and sleepy, and you have no idea why. And, worst of all, you have pains in your body and weakness on your mind.

        Well, all that is because the human body was developed through movement, and it starts deteriorating if it doesn’t move. When inactive, it rarely does anything at all – your muscles stop burning fat and your blood runs more slowly, thus clogging the flow to your brain, heart, and limbs. No wonder that the consequences are reduced cognitive functions, brain fog and depression, obesity and diabetes, back pain, varicose veins, swollen ankles and loss of muscle and bone strength.

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        Now that you know all the symptoms you can expect, let me say just one more thing – as estimated by The World Health Organization, a lack of physical activity that the sedentary lifestyle implies is linked to 3.2 million deaths a year. A scary thought indeed.

        Finally, here’s how to shake it off.

        Time Waits for No One

          And, now back to the morning alarm. Whatever phase of your life you’re currently in, you cannot deny that there aren’t more interesting and fulfilling things to do than watching TV. I understand that hard work wears you down, but that was my story too. Sometimes, I would return back home at 8 p.m. and I had zero energy for doing anything else. Still, and it may seem like a phrase, little things are what keeps you running.

          Don’t cut off entertainment, just make it productive. The only movie worth re-watching hundreds of times is The Godfather; instead of wasting your time on mindless TV marathons, pen down a list of films and series that will make you elevated and smarter.

          The more little things you accomplish during the day, the more you will feel like a winner once your head hits the pillow. Don’t be afraid of scheduling dates, family outings and meetings with friends – in fact, once you commit to something, avoiding it will be much harder.

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          Finally, arm yourself with a lot of patience, since not all of your productivity and time management hacks will work right away. You’ll need to stay flexible and optimistic and try to cross off one task more from your to-do list every next day. Consistency takes practise and time, but most of all, it takes good will and determination.

          Running Ahead

            Though time management is still something I’m trying to wrap my head around, physical activity is something I’ve mastered, and the best piece of advice I can give you is to start in medias res – not on Monday, not tomorrow, but right away. That way, you’ll have no time to hesitate, overthink it or, as it usually happens, find an excuse.

            Carefully designed programs are for professionals, and everything you need to begin with is to shed a little sweat. Don’t plan to go out walking, since that rarely happens. Hit YouTube instead, search for 20-minute workout routines and finish one each day. Speaking from personal experience, these energy boosters will take exactly an hour of your day, given that you’ll need to take breathers in between and take a hot shower afterwards, so stop telling yourself that you have no time for exercising.

            And, once three weeks have passed and you don’t see any significant results, remember this – it’s a period of adjusting that your long-time inactive body absolutely needs to go through. In five weeks’ time, the pounds will just start melting away, the compliments will come from every side, your back will no longer hurt, and you’ll be so absolutely hooked on looking and feeling amazing that you will never stop working out again. True story.

            Flip the Coin

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              Unfortunately, the sedentary lifestyle is all about giving up. Once in a blue moon, you feel motivated enough to get all dolled up and grab a couple of drinks with your friends, but mostly, that’s not the case. When given a choice, you almost always walk the line of least resistance. If so, you’ll need to start practicing what I like to call the flip-the-coin routine.

              I won’t tell you to choose what’s better for your health, since God knows that nobody does that all the time, the same way that almost nobody chooses pomegranates over chocolate. If having a hard time resisting temptations – and you certainly do, since that’s another symptom of a sedentary lifestyle – make a game out of it and flip the coin. That way, your decisions will not be entirely yours to take, at least in the beginning.

              I’ve done the same with fast food – each time I felt the need for something sinfully greasy, I’d allow a coin to choose in my stead. The odds were always 50:50 and the juvenile excitement of playing a game would make me feel less guilty once I got to savour the fries, while those cases when the coin decided differently taught me that junk food was actually something I can do without.

              Paradoxically, this game of chance enabled me to regain control over my vices, simply by teaching me to balance them out. A life without simple pleasures is not a pleasurable life, which is why you’ll have to learn exactly when to discipline yourself and when to indulge. Hopefully, this cheatsheet strategy will train you to harmonize self-restraint that a healthy lifestyle imposes and hedonism that your human heart longs for, and empower you to stand behind your choices.

              If anything else, you’ll face your worst enemy and pinpoint its weaknesses. No revolution is possible without self-awakening, so allow yourself to dive deep into what you are and what you want to be before deciding to give in or to stand up and fight it off.

              Featured photo credit: https://www.pexels.com/u/abbykihano/ via pexels.com

              More by this author

              Vladimir Zivanovic

              CMO at MyCity-Web

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              Last Updated on January 17, 2019

              8 Simple Mindfulness Exercises to Bring Peace and Happiness to Your Life

              8 Simple Mindfulness Exercises to Bring Peace and Happiness to Your Life

              In life, we all need to be conscientious of what we are doing. You don’t need to live a life of stress if you don’t want to. You can achieve peace and happiness in life by carefully building mindfulness exercises into your life’s routine.

              Exercising mindfulness isn’t rocket science and as importantly, you can do it. It will, however, take a few tries to get into the groove of things but once you get it, it is like riding a bike, you will never lose it.

              Trust me. It’s in your best interest to learn and put these mindfulness exercises into practice. In this article, I will share with you 8 mindfulness exercises that will help you to boost your energy, vitality and live a more peaceful and happier life.

              Why Is It Hard to Live A Peaceful And Happy Life?

              Our Habitat Has Become Too Technological

              The world has accepted the idea that technology is often the cure for all evil. We have accepted, as a society, that everything technological will make us live a better life without fully investigating the many side effects that modernity brings.

              There are a number of technological side effects that have a tremendous impact on your life that the media rarely tells you about.[1] Some of them include self-harm, economic inequality, having less sex, and even suicide. The global community is becoming less happy because of technology.

              How can anybody live a peaceful and happy life when they are depressed? Technology advancements, ladies and gents, is a major reason for why we are living a poor life because it has infiltrated our lives too much.

              According to my research, Americans spend an average of 8 hours a day looking at the computer screen — The average screen time spent on smartphones alone is about 20 hours per week. That’s a lot! No wonder why living a happy and peaceful life is so difficult these days.

              Too Many People Don’t Want to Unplug

              Americans check their phones an average of 80 times during vacation.[2] Some admit to checking their smartphones 300 times every single day. In countries like Brazil, India and China, the situation is no different.

              The reality is that people are constantly plugged into technological devices and this behavior is literally making people all over the globe fight an inner war with themselves, which consequently makes them very sad. As we know, war is the enemy of peace which won’t make anybody happy.

              Listen carefully:

              We have a global anxiety epidemic because people don’t want to unplug from their smartphones and most people aren’t doing anything to fix it. It is a sad state of affairs but very real. This obsession with technology is turning us into perishable robots who live terrible lives.

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              The era of anxiety is here to stay. There is little doubt about it. We can, however, fight back with the best remedy of all — We call it mindfulness!

              Thank God there is an antidote to this whole technological madness. Without further ado, let’s go straight to the mindful exercises.

              8 Mindfulness Exercises to Start Practicing

              There are tons of mindfulness exercises available for you to engage with out there.[3] In the paragraphs below, I will include the best ones I’ve personally tried or have seen my close friends and family members try.

              Are you ready for it? Let’s go!

              1. Pray Daily

              You should pray on a daily basis. Why is that you may ask — Well, because science has told us to do so.

              When people pray, they feel peaceful, almost eliminating anxiety. Worries become secondary, and often gives people energy and hope to cope with the difficulties of life.

              Prayer can make you more confident and focused. Prayer also helps you with self-control, helps to control pain, and can protect you against illnesses and disorders like cancer and high blood pressure. At least, this is what researchers from Harvard Medical School have said.[4]

              Pray. You won’t regret it.[5]

              2. Pay Attention to Your Inner Thoughts

              A lot of people allow themselves to be influenced by their negative thoughts. Be different and resist believing in them. It is a bad habit that can lead to unhappiness.

              By the way, if you do feel this way, chances are high that somebody other than you put these thoughts into your head.

              Here is my secret to combat this cancer — look at things objectively. I bet that if you look at things as they are, you will realize that most if not all of your negative thoughts are only inside of your head.

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              If you pay close attention, you will quickly realize that these voices aren’t worth your time. Believe me — Ignoring them and looking at things with objectivity is often the best course of action.

              This article can guide you to beat negative thoughts:

              How to Stop Automatic Negative Thoughts When You’re Overwhelmed

              3. Smile Often

              Smiling will slow down your heart. It will also relax your body because when you smile, your body releases endorphins which in itself has a number of positive benefits for you as a person.

              Smile often! You may want to smile early in the morning, during the day, and late in the evening. It is amazing what happens to you when you decide to smile instead of being grumpy.

              Surrender your problems to a nice smile. You will notice two things. First, most people just don’t which makes them live a miserable life. Second, if you decide to smile often, you will eventually smile unconsciously which is the ideal.

              The moment that you smile unconsciously, you then know that you are truly happy.

              4. Organize Your Working Desk

              A messy desk will make you less productive and can agitate and overstimulate you. You don’t want that.

              When you clear your desk, you engage in deep inner-thinking and your systematic decision making ends up becoming therapeutic.

              Most people realize that they are most creative when their creative space is clean and organized. The former often makes people more aware of what they are doing which lends to less stress and more productivity.

              Organizing your desk will also make you more energetic and focused because order often decreases chaos which is a condition that often slows down daily progress.

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              5. Celebrate Your Friend’s Victories

              I love this mindful exercise. One of the best ways to live a happy and peaceful life is to celebrate the victories of others. When you do that, you automatically make your friends in a better mood which makes you in a better mood, as well.

              Happiness is contagious! We might as well celebrate others as much as we can. If you find out that your peer has won an award, celebrate with him! If your friend is the recipient of a local charity award, celebrate with her!

              What is also awesome is that when you celebrate with others, they often celebrate with you in return. This, ladies and gentleman, will make you feel fantastic. You can’t go wrong with this one, period.

              6. Listen to Your Spouse/Partner

              God put someone in your life for a reason. You might as well listen to him or her.

              I listen to my wife everyday. In fact, I often ask the following question to her, “Amanda, what are your thoughts about…” or “What am I missing about…” It is shocking what I hear back from her. Without her having much context and perspective, by the art of observation in my own nonverbal behavior and the behavior of others, she accurately gives me incredible insights which helps me out with living my life to the fullest.

              I’m a firm believer that spouses are supposed to engage in interpersonal communication every day. I most definitely do and will continue doing it. You should do the same.

              7. Give Yourself a Break from Technology

              You can’t be in total equilibrium if your computerized devices control your life. You must get away from technology on a daily basis.[6]

              How do you do that? This is my formula:

              First, take this smartphone control test. It is only ten questions but this test will place you somewhere in the human robot cycle continuum.

              If your score is between 25-30, take a break from the computer (or smartphone, pad, laptop/desktop) every twenty minutes and stop being on a computerized device after 8:00pm.

              If you score between 30-35, still take a break every 20 minutes but stop being on these devices at 5:00pm.

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              If you score more than 35, you need to take action immediately.

              Limit computer use as much as possible throughout the day. Give yourself as many breaks from the computer as possible. Are you ready for the challenge?

              8. Go Exercise

              Go exercise at least three times a week. I don’t care if you need to workout early in the morning, late in the evening, on the weekends or during work days. Working out is absolutely imperative for you to live happy and peaceful life.

              The stresses of the modern world are too much for you to neglect this important mindfulness exercise. When you go to the gym, you burn calories, focus on activities one step at a time, your mind relaxes, anxiety decreases, you sweat and often think about topics unrelated to your work place among many other benefits.

              You must exercise at least three hours each week for optimum results. Why? Just take a look at all the benefits of regular exercising:

              12 Benefits of Regular Exercise You Should Know

              The Bottom Line

              It’s in your best interest to learn and put these mindfulness exercises into practice. Now that our habitat has become too technological and many people just don’t want to unplug, engaging in daily prayer, celebrate your friends’ victories, and listening to your spouse are among the best ways to be mindful about what you are doing and how you are living.

              It is possible to live a happy and peaceful life. It only depends on you.

              Go exercise! Take a break from technology and invest in you! Life is too short for distractions.

              More Resources About Mindfulness

              Featured photo credit: Lesly Juarez via unsplash.com

              Reference

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