As a blogger, I do spend quite a bit of time in front of my computer and seated at my desk. Though not all of the time, because I’m still running after Squeaker or playing with her but often enough, I think. This is not a habit that I want to continue, but at the same time, I’m also starting to rethink my career choice. But that’s another post for another day. Today, I want to talk about moving away from a sedentary lifestyle and staying active during the day.
How to Start Moving Away from a Sedentary Lifestyle
So, clearly no one is going to intentionally sit down all day long and not do anything. Even on those days, you still have to get up and go to the bathroom. But is that enough to be counted as physical activity? Not really.
But what exactly is a sedentary lifestyle?
Simply put, a sedentary lifestyle is a lifestyle where you get little to no physical activity that involves being on your feet.
This type of lifestyle is one of the worse kinds of lifestyles you can have, even if you don’t engage in other health-damaging activities such as smoking and excessive consumption of alcohol. This is because there are various health risks that come with a sedentary lifestyle.
Health Risks of a Sedentary Lifestyle
Included among the many health risks that you could face if you maintain your sedentary lifestyle are:
Sleep apnea, where obstruction to the airways causes you to stop breathing periodically when you are sleeping. The obstruction can be caused by many reasons, but obesity and a sedentary lifestyle contribute largely to it. The breathing pauses can be very detrimental in the long run.
Cardiovascular diseases, or in simple terms, diseases of the heart and blood vessels. Leading an overly sedentary lifestyle is usually coupled with eating too much and weight gain, which in turn increases your risk for heart disease.
Mental slowdowns as you get older. There is some evidence that a sedentary lifestyle can push along the process of memory deterioration as we age.
Pulmonary embolisms, which are more common among sedentary people, and there is an even higher risk if a sedentary woman is also on the pill.
What Can You Do to Minimize the Risk?
It’s simple: just start moving around more.
Nobody is asking you to start running marathons every day (though, if you could, that would be great!). Just take small steps to ensure that you get some exercise into your day. For example, you can take the stairs instead of the elevator, and park your car a little bit further so you can take a short walk before and after work.
If you work at home, consider using a standing desk:
Or consider replacing your existing desk chair with a ball chair
If you can add in about 30 minutes of proper exercise each day, that would be even better.
So, start taking those baby steps towards a healthier lifestyle today. Somewhere down the line, when you have a healthy heart at 70 and beyond, you’ll be happy you did.
If you are confined to a desk chair all day, either because of blogging or an office job, here are some tips for stretching your back.
Seated Back Twist
To do this stretch, you need to sit on your chair and plant both feet flat on the ground. Then, while holding the back of your chair, twist your body to one side to stretch your spine. Be sure to keep your spine straight and don’t overdo it or you can injure your back. After twisting to one side, you can twist your body to the opposite side.
This stretch is effective to loosen the muscles in your neck, shoulder, and upper back. To do the chin tuck, simply lower your chin to your chest and stretch the back of your neck. You can also use your hands to push your head down with a slight pressure to further stretch your neck.
Lower Back Stretch
To do this stretch, you have to sit upright in your chair and make sure you have ample space in front of you. You then bring one knee towards your chest and hold it there for a few seconds with your hands. Make sure you feel the stretch in your lower back. You can then repeat the stretch with your other knee.
Seated Forward Bend
The seated forward bend allows you to stretch your whole back as well as your shoulders and neck. Just like when doing the lower back stretch, make sure that you have enough space in front of you. With both your feet flat on the floor, raise both hands above your head and bend down slowly towards your knees. When your chin reaches your knees, hold that position for a few seconds before you slowly rise back up.
Cat-Cow Back Stretch
This stretch is a very simple stretch which is great for the neck and upper back. To do it, sit upright with your hands on your knees, and inhale slowly while raising your head up and arching your back. Hold for a few seconds and exhale while dropping your chin down to your chest and rounding your spine. You can repeat this stretch a few times.
Do you take daily breaks or do you try to get some stretching in while you’re seated? What steps are you taking to start moving away from a sedentary lifestyle?