While advances in technology have certainly made our lives easier, they also lend to living a more sedentary lifestyle. This means spending more time doing activities that involve sitting or lying down with minimal energy expenditure.
In doing so, we subject ourselves to a range of health risks. This includes cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes and some types of cancer. Long periods of inactivity also can also affect your metabolism and reduce your ability to break down fat, which is why sedentary behaviour is considered a major contributor to obesity.
Fortunately, it isn’t difficult to incorporate more movement into your day. Here are 5 tips to help you get up and active.
Take a Walk
In one 2015 study, it was found that only 15 minutes of daily walking can counteract the damage caused to your arteries as a result of prolonged sitting. This comes in addition to a myriad of mental and physical health benefits.
Aside from taking the odd stroll around your neighbourhood, you can increase your daily step count in many ways, such as by standing up during phone calls, using the stairs and parking further from your destination. You will likely find several more solutions by looking for opportunities to walk as the day goes on.
Rethink Your Workstation
For most people, the main cause of their sedentary behaviour comes from work. Sitting at a desk is particularly harmful to your back. You can increase your time standing by making it a point to get on your feet every 30 minutes. Taking brief walks to grab a cup of coffee or water will also help.
If possible, investing in a standing desk is another great solution. One alternative is to replace your office chair with a fitness ball seat, which promotes healthy sitting habits. Whatever you do, remember to keep your posture in check.
Upgrade Your Mattress
It’s not easy to completely avoid being sedentary, especially if you drive for long periods or work at a computer. Spending 7-8 hours on an uncomfortable mattress every night will only make matters worse, which is why it’s a good idea to consider buying a new one. Here’s a list of the best mattress to help with back pain.
Do More Chores
Our busy modern lives make it easy to forget or put off tasks at home. Spending more time on chores instead of going from table to couch will help in keeping you active. This can include cleaning floors, doing laundry, wiping surfaces and taking out the garbage.
Getting these tasks done sooner rather than later will afford you more free time later in the week. Chores like cleaning dishes and wiping the table after eating are particularly valuable as they also lower your blood sugar levels.
Plant a Garden
Another effective and highly rewarding way to stay active at home is to delve into gardening. The hobby doesn’t only keep you active but also comes with a range of mental health benefits including stress relief. Plus, you could end up with plenty of fresh herbs and vegetables for the kitchen. Flowers are something to consider growing as well.
If you have the space, getting started is as simple as choosing an appropriate spot in your backyard. Growing pot plants in well-lit areas indoors is a reasonable alternative. You can also volunteer at a nearby community garden.
As a bonus tip, think about picking up a fitness tracker or pedometer to help you gauge your daily activity levels. This can alert you to sedentary behaviour and assist in establishing goals. Incorporating these tips into your life is much easier than you might think, and you’ll quickly notice the benefits.