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If You Exercise but Sit a Lot, You’re Still Unhealthy

If You Exercise but Sit a Lot, You’re Still Unhealthy

A typical day used to be spent doing physical labor, but that is no longer the case. The inactivity most of us experience as part of our daily career routine can increase our risk of dying. You may make time to go to the gym an hour or two a week, but if 40 other hours are spent sitting at a desk or sitting during your lunch break, you aren’t actually compensating for it while you’re at the gym.[1]

While many of us mean well and fully intend to walk more on our lunch breaks or go to the gym more frequently, we are often so mentally tired after a long day at work that we wind up laying on the couch at home watching tv instead.

Humans have grown to be less active

In the 1960’s, approximately 50% of US jobs required heavy to moderate physical activity. This was a time when factory jobs were still common place and employees were on their feet all day whether doing heavy lifting or not.[2] Now, however, that percentage is a measly 20%, meaning a whopping 80% of American jobs are almost wholly sedentary or demand very little physical exertion. The unfortunate truth is that most of us spend our workdays glued to our chairs staring at a computer. Sitting, is now an epidemic.

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    Think back to your childhood. You used to run around playing outdoors. At school you had P.E. classes and may have even been encouraged by your friends to take up a sport. Unfortunately, as you grew up, your opportunities to participate in physical activity became less available. While working for an income is a huge priority, should it really come before our health? Unfortunately, it seems most of us have said yes and thus, have stopped moving very often.

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      Even though you may do exercises once in a while, exercise alone isn’t enough to make you more active in general. In one study, two groups were analyzed. One group was very active, exercising more than 7 hours a week. The other group spent more of their time sitting down. The less physical group had a 50% greater risk of death. As if this isn’t a scary enough result, the same group also doubled their odds of dying from heart disease.

      Get up and get moving

      The goal is simple: move more, sit less. Look for small ways to incorporate more activity into each and every day. Maybe tomorrow you could share this article with a coworker and make it a goal to walk every day on your lunch break together. Try to fit in two miles a day. And if you have stairs in your office, try to take those rather than opting for the elevator.

      This video also has some great recommendations you can try!

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      For even more inspiration, check out this article for exercises you can do while you’re at work: 29 Exercises You Can Do At (Or Near) Your Desk

      Stand up now!

      Don’t get so carried away with big goals that you disappoint yourself right away; try to start small. When you find substitutions in your daily life (such as taking the stairs at work or even standing and pacing while you talk on the phone), you can quickly start some new habits you’ll be able to keep in the long run.

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      While sometimes it can be so tempting to get home from a long day at work and lay around and binge watch your favorite series, you’ll be happier, and much healthier, if you can make it a point to be active. If you’re a pet owner, you’ll also feel better about your relationship with your pup — take them for a walk! Your healthy heart, and your furry friend, will thank you. If you don’t have a pet, link up with a neighbor who would help you stay motivated and accountable.

      Featured photo credit: Freepik via freepik.com

      Reference

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      Jolie Choi

      Having experienced her own extreme transformation process, Jolie strongly believes that staying healthy takes determined and consistent action.

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      Last Updated on July 10, 2020

      How to Take Control of Your Life with Better Boundaries

      How to Take Control of Your Life with Better Boundaries

      We all have them—those hurtful, frustrating, offensive, manipulative people in our lives. No matter how hard we try to surround ourselves with positive and kind people, there will always be those who will disrespect, insult, berate, and misuse you if we allow them to.

      We may, for a variety of reasons, not be able to avoid them, but we can determine how we interact with them and how we allow them to interact with us.

      So, how to take control of your life and stop being pushed around?

      Learning to set clear firm boundaries with the people in our lives at work and in our personal lives is the best way to protect ourselves from the negative effects of this kind of behavior.

      What Boundaries Are (And What They’re Not)

      Boundaries are limits

      —they are not threats or ultimatums. Boundaries inform or teach. They are not a form of punishment.

      Boundaries are firm lines—determined by you—which cannot be crossed by those around you. They are guidelines for how you will allow others to treat you and what kind of behaviors you will expect.

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      Healthy personal boundaries help protect you from physical or emotional pain. You may also need to set firm boundaries at work to ensure you and your time are not disrespected. Don’t allow others to take advantage of your kindness and generosity.

      Clear boundaries communicate to others that you demand respect and consideration—that you are willing to stand up for yourself and that you will not be a doormat for anyone. They are a “no trespassing” sign that makes it very clear when a line has been crossed and that there will be consequences for doing so.

      Boundaries are not set with the intention of changing other people. They may change how people interact with you, but they are more about enforcing your needs than attempting to change the general behavior and attitude of others.

      How to Establish Boundaries and Take Control of Your Life

      Here are some ways that you can establish boundaries and take control of your life.

      1. Self-Awareness Comes First

      Before you can establish boundaries with others, you first need to understand what your needs are.

      You are entitled to respect. You have the right to protect yourself from inappropriate or offensive behavior. Setting boundaries is a way of honoring your needs.

      To set appropriate boundaries, you need to be clear about what healthy behaviors look like—what healthy relationships look like.

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      You first have to become more aware of your feelings and honest with yourself about your expectations and what you feel is appropriate behavior:

      • Where do you need to establish better boundaries?
      • When do you feel disrespected?
      • When do you feel violated, frustrated, or angered by the behavior of others?
      • In what situations do you feel you are being mistreated or taken advantage of?
      • When do you want to be alone?
      • How much space do you need?

      You need to honor your own needs and boundaries before you can expect others to honor them. This allows you to take control of your life.

      2. Clear Communication Is Essential

      Inform others clearly and directly what your expectations are. It is essential to have clear communication if you want others to respect your boundaries. Explain in an honest and respectful tone what you find offensive or unacceptable.

      Many people simply aren’t aware that they are behaving inappropriately. They may never have been taught proper manners or consideration for others.

      3. Be Specific but Don’t Blame

      Taking a blaming or punishing attitude automatically puts people on the defensive. People will not listen when they feel attacked. It’s part of human nature.

      That said, you do not need to overexplain or defend yourself. Boundaries are not open to compromise.

      Sample language:

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      • “You may not…yell or raise your voice to me…”
      • “I need…to be treated with respect…”
      • “It’s not okay when…you take things from my desk without asking…”
      • “I won’t…do your work…cover for you anymore…”
      • “It’s not acceptable when…you ridicule or insult me…”
      • “I am uncomfortable when…you use offensive language”
      • “I will no longer be able to…lend you money…”

      Being able to communicate these without sounding accusatory is essential if you want others to respect your boundaries so you can take control of your life.

      4. Consequences Are Often Necessary

      Determine what the appropriate consequences will be when boundaries are crossed. If it’s appropriate, be clear about those consequences upfront when communicating those boundaries to others.

      Follow through. People won’t respect your boundaries if you don’t enforce them.

      Standing our ground and forcing consequences doesn’t come easily to us. We want to be nice. We want people to like us, but we shouldn’t have to trade our self-respect to gain friends or to achieve success.

      We may be tempted to let minor disrespect slide to avoid conflict, but as the familiar saying goes, “if you give people an inch, they’ll take a mile.”

      It’s much easier to address offensive or inappropriate behavior now than to wait until that behavior has gotten completely out of hand.

      It’s also important to remember that positive reinforcement is even more powerful than negative consequences. When people do alter the way they treat you, acknowledge it. Let people know that you notice and appreciate their efforts.

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      Final Thoughts

      Respect is always a valid reason for setting a boundary. Don’t defend yourself or your needs. Boundaries are often necessary to protect your time, your space, and your feelings. And these are essential if you want to take control of your life.

      Start with the easiest boundaries first. Setting boundaries is a skill that needs to be practiced. Enlist support from others if necessary. Inform people immediately when they have crossed the line.

      Don’t wait. Communicate politely and directly. Be clear about the consequences and follow them through.

      The better you become at setting your own boundaries, the better you become at recognizing and respecting the boundaries of others.

      Remember that establishing boundaries is your right. You are entitled to respect. You can’t control how other people behave, but you do have control over the way you allow people to treat you.

      Learning to set boundaries is not always easy, but with time, it will become more comfortable. You may eventually find that boundaries become automatic and you no longer need to consciously set them.

      They will simply become a natural extension of your self-respect.

      Featured photo credit: Thomas Kelley via unsplash.com

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