Relax in Moderation: How Sedentary Habits Cause Long Term Damage

Treating yourself could be the cause of many of your health problems.

Health professionals will often tell you that relaxation is key to improving your mental and physical health. The modern culture of “treating yourself” can create a lifestyle of relaxation. This is also known as a sedentary lifestyle which can be extremely bad for your health. If you’re like most folks you work hard almost every day. Whether or not your work is physical, by the end of the day, you’re exhausted. The typical workday starts by commuting to work in your car or on a bus/train. Then at work chances are you’re sitting for a long period of time followed by a similar commute home. The possibility that you spend most of your workday sitting is actually quite high. On average, Americans sit about 10 hours a day.

Sitting In The Workplace

The average person works for about 50 years of their life. The time at work adds up to about 13 years. That’s about a sixth of your entire life spent at work. While working is a necessity, there are a number of things you can do around the office to improve your health. The first thing to do is to get yourself a standing desk or a desk that converts from sitting to standing. Standing desks can be instrumental in improving your posture, reducing back pain, and burning more calories. Standing, rather than sitting, can also have positive effects on your blood flow and heart health. In fact the dangers of sitting too much can be very severe.

Sitting Is Killing

Globally, physical inactivity is the 4th leading risk factor for mortality. The numbers are quite staggering. Over 3 million deaths a year are related to physical inactivity. A sedentary lifestyle increases the risk of developing heart disease, cancer, diabetes, and osteoporosis. It also negatively affects things like weight gain, mental health, back/neck pain, and muscle degeneration. A new disease has even been named due to the negative effects of sitting. “Sitting Disease” as it’s called often involves metabolic syndrome and obesity. Scientists recommend sitting for no more than 4 hours per day. If you have to sit for prolonged periods of time, it’s recommended that you stand and are active for at least 10 minutes out of every hour. Apps and peripheral devices such as smartwatches can go a long way in helping combat sitting disease.

Smartwatches & Fitness Technology

Advancements in technology like television and computers are at the root of the increases in sedentary lifestyle habits. Technology is also playing a greater role in the fight against sedentary lifestyle habits. Wearable fitness devices such as Fitbits and Apple Watches come equipped with pedometers that track the number of steps you take per day. This can be a great way to remind you to walk every hour and track how active you are in order to live an active lifestyle. As technology draws us closer to a sedentary lifestyle it’s great to see technology keeping us active.

The Streaming Service Revolution

Netflix, Hulu, HBO GO, oh my! There are now more ways to watch TV and play videogames than ever before. Barriers of entry are low, access is easy, and the quality of programming is better than ever. Relaxing is so easy it’s hard to escape the temptation to relax all the time. So how do you navigate the streaming entertainment landscape without getting sucked in to a quagmire?

Good Habits For Active Lifestyles

  1. Set Reminders To Be Active – Whether you’re using a wearable device or your smartphone make sure you get reminders to get up and be active once per hour.
  2. Use a standing desk – Standing is way better for you than sitting. Even if you’re not moving about standing is better for your neck/back and cardiovascularity.
  3. Start An Active Hobby – Rather than crushing another season of GoT, plan an activity. To make it a habit, do it for 30 days.
  4. Change Your Commute – If you have the option available try riding a bike to work or taking a bus or train. If on the bus/train, try standing instead of sitting.
  5. Improve Your Diet – The food you eat can have a huge impact on your joint health. It can also affect the amount of energy you have. Having a bit more energy could be the difference in choosing to be active rather than vegetating on the couch all evening.