Are you a couch potato? Yes, you! It’s okay we are all guilty of vegging out on the couch at the end of a long day at work or on the weekends. Technology has made it easier for us to do our jobs but it also has some serious consequences too.
How many of you work a sedentary job? I’m sure you are starting to see the picture here. When you sit all day at work and then come home to veg on the couch all evening long, you are putting your health at risk. The scientific community is now referring to the ill-effects of an overly sedentary lifestyle or referring to conditions that increase your risk of heart disease, stroke, or diabetes, called “The Sitting Disease“. As of now, the medical community has not classified as a diagnosable disease at this time. But if your doctor discovers that you are living a sedentary lifestyle, he or she is likely to recommend that you start exercising.
Living a sedentary lifestyle can shave years off your life but it isn’ too late to start exercising and counteracting the symptoms of “The Sitting Disease”. With the help of a personal trainer or even your doctor, you can safely determine the right sedentary lifestyle solutions and get you on your way to find the proper exercise routine. It is important that you don’t go out the first day and try to run or do a huge cardio workout. Instead, you should do it slowly so that you don’t hurt yourself or cause injury. Being active will make you feel better and you will slowly improve your overall health.
Get an Extensive Health Evaluation
Before you start an exercise routine, you should always consult with your doctor or healthcare provider first. Your doctor can help you determine what type of activities that you can do safely perform and help you come up with the proper sedentary lifestyle solutions to meet your needs. If needed, your doctor can even refer you to a physical therapist. A physical therapist can help strengthen your core and increase your overall strength before stating your sedentary lifestyle solutions.
You also want to work with your doctor so that you can reach out for help and support along the way. Plus, they can help reduce your risk of heart disease, high cholesterol, high blood pressure or other health ailments as your work towards the goal of improving your overall health.
Slow and Steady Wins the Race
Are you planning on starting a new fitness routine after living a sedentary lifestyle for several months or even years? Jumping back into an exercise program full force isn’t a wise idea. Instead, it is important that you start off slowly so that you don’t hurt yourself. For example, start out by walking a slow pace for 10 minutes every other day and work your way towards your goal. The Department of Health and Human Services recommends these that the average adult should get at a minimum of 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity or 75 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity a week.
Instead of starting off at the gym, I suggest that you start off by walking either outside or on a treadmill. Walking is low impact and you are less likely to injure yourself. It is better to wait until you are in shape before you sign up for a gym membership. Heading the gym could potentially increase your odds of injuring yourself unless you hire a personal trainer to assist you. If you have lived a sedentary lifestyle, it is easy to overdo it when they first start exercising. An injury could set you back a few weeks.
Do create a workout plan that will work for you and achieve the sedentary lifestyle solutions or goals. They can help create the right workout plans for you and help increase your success rate. A personal trainer can also help you with strength training and improve your cardio too.
Stretch and Warm-Up Prior to Exercising
It is important that you take the time and properly stretch your muscles before exercising. Stretching your muscles will help reduce muscle tension, improve range of motion, increases circulation, and prevent injuries. Once you stretch your muscles, it is best to slowly warm up your muscles by walking slowly or riding a bicycle for 5 to 10 minutes. Then move to your workout routine.
Take at Least One Day Off to Rest per Week
Once you get an exercise routine started, make sure that you take at least one day off from exercising. This gives your body and mind time a chance to heal and recover. Rest days are important too. Always plan ahead and include rest days into your sedentary lifestyle solutions plan.
Invest in Proper Footwear
Don’t start exercising until you have had the chance to purchase proper footwear. Pick shoes that provide proper support and are made to protect your feet while exercising.
Never grab just any pair of shoes because they are handy or inexpensive; instead, grab a shoe that is made for the activity that you plan on doing the most. If you plan on walking, purchase a cross-training shoe. But if you are planning on running you will need to pick a running shoe. Footwear is designed for a specific purpose so it is better to purchase several different types of shoes to wear while exercising.
Vary Your Intensity and Activity
Have you been exercising at the same intensity or activity since you started your fitness routine? If so, it is time to change up your activity by varing your intensity. For example, instead of walking for 20 to 30 minutes try 1 minute of fast walking or light jogging and 4 minutes of walking. If you can’t jog, then try adding an incline. Varying your intensity and the type of exercise that you do will help build new muscles and prevent overuse injuries.
Add Strength Training
Most people think of bodybuilders when they hear the word strength training and think of huge, bulky muscles. However, strength training has several benefits including:
- protects bone health
- makes you stronger
- improves your body mechanics
- helps prevent certain diseases
- boosts energy
- improves your mood
- increases the number of calories burned
- tones muscles
- improve posture
Limit Watching Television
Do you enjoy watching television or sitting down at the computer after you get home from work? Don’t worry you aren’t alone but it is something that you can easily change. Instead, sitting down to engage in either of these activities you should replace it with physical activity, even if you worked out that evening. Here are a few examples to try: plant a garden, wash the car, do a few household chores, or try an organized fitness class or sports.
I have another alternative for those individuals who are addicted to watching television. You can purchase a stationary bike, elliptical, or treadmill for your home so that you can work out while watching your favorite show.
Opt for a Stand-Up or Treadmill Desk
If you have to be on the computer, you can opt for stand-up or use a treadmill desk. Some companies are offering incentives for employees who are focused on improving their health, so if your company offers this perk. Don’t be afraid to ask your company for a standing desk or workplace alternative).
Can’t get a stand-up or treadmill desk, there are a few things that you can do to curb the effects of sitting. You can go walk on your lunch break, do bodyweight leg exercises while you are on break, or get up frequently to stretch.
Adopt Healthy Eating Habits
Eating healthy meals is just as important as exercising. As you are slowly making changes to your activity level, make sure that you are also working on your eating habits. Changing your eating habits doesn’t have to be hard. Once you start eating healthy, you should begin to notice an improvement in the way you feel.
A sedentary lifestyle can have serious health repercussions but it isn’t too late to make changes to your overall health and well-being. Remember to take it slow and easy when you first starting an exercise routine to avoid injury.