Over the last year, we have all had to retreat in the one place that we feel is safe from Covid-19 and all that is happening globally. However, there is another threat that we hadn’t considered and has started to creep up as an increasing number of Americans started to work from home: a sedentary lifestyle.
Even if you have never been active, your daily routines, commute, and standing desk might have kept at bay health issues such as type 2 diabetes, obesity, and heart disease. While we might not realize it, we all tend to spend more time sitting than ever before. Here are the risks of this lifestyle change and how to protect yourself.
The Health Effects of a Sedentary Lifestyle
A sedentary lifestyle has been seen to be linked to several health conditions, including:
- Type 2 diabetes
- Heart disease and circulatory issues
- Obesity, weight gain, and excess body fat
- increased blood pressure
- high blood sugar
- Premature death
- A sedentary lifestyle has also been linked to an increase in psychological health issues.
However, the real threat behind this lifestyle change is that it can cause a chain reaction from which might be difficult to reemerge. Indeed, when you sit, you will be using less energy, which makes you feel less motivated to move around.
Within 24 hours of inactivity, some muscles and important body structures begin to break down, leading to discomfort and pain. And, because of these pains and aches – especially in the lower back – you might feel less inclined to exercise.
Of course, it is possible to break this circle, but it does require motivation. The longer you allow it to affect you, the harder it will be to override unhealthy behaviors.
Who Is Affected the Most?
Reduced physical activity can start to affect your body within days, but the effects become visible in no more than three to four weeks. However, this timeframe is reduced by half in the case of older adults. Indeed, just over two weeks of inactivity can cause major physical and psychological changes that, in some cases, can become hard to reverse. Indeed, muscle breakdown in older adults happens more quickly and, when this is coupled with the fact that their recovery is slower, it can lead to long-lasting health effects.
Change Your Habits for Better Health
Ultimately, regardless of your age, it is crucial to protect your health and prevent a sedentary lifestyle from developing into severe consequences. This is also of particular importance now, when we are all counting on our immune system to protect us – an immune system that would be significantly disrupted by the health consequences of a sedentary life like heart disease and diabetes.
To fight the effects of this lifestyle, it is important to implement some routine changes, including:
- Stretching – it allows you to keep your muscles elastic and mobile, allowing you to move freely. Aside from longer sessions, think about implementing 1-minute stretching sessions.
- Setting a step count – walking is beneficial for the muscles, spine, and mind. Consider walking around the block or for at least 30 minutes a day.
- Get ready for the day – dressing up in the morning can increase confidence and productivity, while putting your pajamas back on at night can improve sleep and promote relaxation. Keep up your routine!
- Exercise every day – practicing cardio, weight lifting, or even yoga every day can help you recover from the effects of a sedentary life and lift your mood. Add extra core exercises for spine health and protection.
If you’re interested to learn more about ways you can improve your health in 2021, you can find more info here, or feel free to reach out to me with any questions or thoughts you have!
#health #wellness #workplacehealth #workingfromhome #wellbeing