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Last Updated on February 27, 2018

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

      More by this author

      Jolie Choi

      Gone through a few heartbreaks and lost hundreds of friends but I am still happy with my life.

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      Last Updated on September 20, 2018

      How to Stay Calm and Cool When You Are Extremely Stressful

      How to Stay Calm and Cool When You Are Extremely Stressful

      Being in a hurry all the time drains your energy. Your work and routine life make you feel overwhelmed. Getting caught up in things beyond your control stresses you out…

      If you’d like to stay calm and cool in stressful situations, put the following 8 steps into practice:

      1. Breathe

      The next time you’re faced with a stressful situation that makes you want to hurry, stop what you’re doing for one minute and perform the following steps:

      • Take five deep breaths in and out (your belly should come forward with each inhale).
      • Imagine all that stress leaving your body with each exhale.
      • Smile. Fake it if you have to. It’s pretty hard to stay grumpy with a goofy grin on your face.

      Feel free to repeat the above steps every few hours at work or home if you need to.

      2. Loosen up

      After your breathing session, perform a quick body scan to identify any areas that are tight or tense. Clenched jaw? Rounded shoulders? Anything else that isn’t at ease?

      Gently touch or massage any of your body parts that are under tension to encourage total relaxation. It might help to imagine you’re in a place that calms you: a beach, hot tub, or nature trail, for example.

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      3. Chew slowly

      Slow down at the dinner table if you want to learn to be patient and lose weight. Shoveling your food down as fast as you can is a surefire way to eat more than you need to (and find yourself with a bellyache).

      Be a mindful eater who pays attention to the taste, texture, and aroma of every dish. Chew slowly while you try to guess all of the ingredients that were used to prepare your dish.

      Chewing slowly will also reduce those dreadful late-night cravings that sneak up on you after work.

      4. Let go

      Cliche as it sounds, it’s very effective.

      The thing that seems like the end of the world right now?

      It’s not. Promise.

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      Stressing and worrying about the situation you’re in won’t do any good because you’re already in it, so just let it go.

      Letting go isn’t easy, so here’s a guide to help you:

      21 Things To Do When You Find It Hard To Let Go

      5. Enjoy the journey

      Focusing on the end result can quickly become exhausting. Chasing a bold, audacious goal that’s going to require a lot of time and patience? Split it into several mini-goals so you’ll have several causes for celebration.

      Stop focusing on the negative thoughts. Giving yourself consistent positive feedback will help you grow patience, stay encouraged, and find more joy in the process of achieving your goals.

      6. Look at the big picture

      The next time you find your stress level skyrocketing, take a deep breath, and ask yourself:

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      Will this matter to me…

      • Next week?
      • Next month?
      • Next year?
      • In 10 years?

      Hint: No, it won’t.

      I bet most of the stuff that stresses you wouldn’t matter the next week, maybe not even the next day.

      Stop agonizing over things you can’t control because you’re only hurting yourself.

      7. Stop demanding perfection of yourself

      You’re not perfect and that’s okay. Show me a person who claims to be perfect and I’ll show you a dirty liar.

      Demanding perfection of yourself (or anybody else) will only stress you out because it just isn’t possible.

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      8. Practice patience every day

      Below are a few easy ways you can practice patience every day, increasing your ability to remain calm and cool in times of stress:

      • The next time you go to the grocery store, get in the longest line.
      • Instead of going through the drive-thru at your bank, go inside.
      • Take a long walk through a secluded park or trail.

      Final thoughts

      Staying calm in stressful situations is possible, all you need is some daily practice.

      Taking deep breaths and eat mindfully are some simple ways to train your brain to be more patient. But changing the way you think of a situation and staying positive are most important in keeping cool whenever you feel overwhelmed and stressful.

      Featured photo credit: Brooke Cagle via unsplash.com

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