The sedentary lifestyle is sometimes called the couch potato lifestyle – but this doesn’t really accurately cover how many people live it. ‘Couch potato’ suggests someone lazy and with options. Most of us work desk jobs, which means we have to sit down most of the day.
Here are the risks that come with daily uninterrupted periods of sitting!
Your heart needs to beat above a regular rate for at least thirty minutes total a day. Which, yes, means you should be exercising for at least that amount every day. If your heart rate stays the same all day, then you run the risk of introducing some big problems later in life. Your heart needs that exercise; otherwise, it will weaken as you age faster than it should. Remember that exercising after sitting down all day isn’t a great solution; you should be able to move around at least every couple of hours or so.
A lack of physical activity really does a number on your back. When you’re sitting down, your lower back is in a tightened positions (your hamstrings and your hip muscles are, too, which don’t help things). This causes a lot of strain over time. If you have a desk job, then you’ve probably noticed some lower back pain at some point. This can be relieved using the right kind of chair (an ergonomic one). Exercise will also help you out there, but if you’ve been having persistent back discomfort then you may want to look into a deep tissue massage to relieve the pressure there.
A lack of exercise can do a lot of bad things to your mood in the long run. A lot of people only see the effects of a sedentary lifestyle from a physical standpoint, but it can cause a lot of trouble for your mental health, too. It can exacerbate depression, and has also been linked to heightened anxiety and a growing lack of confidence. Your mental acuity, too, is harmed when you sit down all day without a break from your given activity.
This probably sounds like something extremely severe to you! Muscle atrophy is actually pretty common; it’s simply the weakening of muscle and other body structures due to inactivity or a lack of proper nutrition. Of course, you can get very severe cases of it, but the sedentary lifestyle usually induces much less worrying cases. Still, it’s not something you should brush off. People tend to associate this lifestyle with weight gain – which is often the case, of course. But a weakening and thinning of your muscles will occur if you’re sitting down all day. Whether you remain thin or gain weight, it’s a big problem.
Computer vision syndrome
This one sounds much less scary than “muscle atrophy”. Actually, it sort of sounds cool. Robotic, almost. But CVS is common among those with a sedentary lifestyle, and it shouldn’t be laughed away. If you focus on a display device for long and uninterrupted amounts of time, you’ll start to get fatigued, experience head and neck pain, and strain your eyes. Tear yourself away from the screen every twenty to thirty minutes or so – if this means getting away from your desk for a couple of minutes, then all the better!
*This is a collaboration post