Movement is the essence of life and of health, but what happens if lack of movement becomes a large part of our daily routine, our jobs, and our leisure time? If our culture and society dictate that a majority of our activities should be centered around sitting down, are we to blame for the fact that we are not moving enough and it’s costing us our health, our wellbeing, and ultimately our life?
Sedentary Lifestyle & Physical Health
It seems that our lifestyles are becoming increasingly convenient as advances in technology put virtually anything we can imagine at our doorstep or at the reach of our fingertips with the simple click of our mouse or the latest handy feature on our smart phone. However, our ever-efficient society could have a lot to do with why we are getting sick.
Amenities such as TV, Internet, cell phones, and more recently, the availability of receiving goods and services to our homes in record time are contributing to us getting up to get our needs met less than ever before. This means that we have to work extra hard to exercise and engage in activity every day because if left to the typical, daily routine of the average, 21st century human being, our activity level would be negligible.
A sedentary lifestyle of using a cell phone or Internet rather than visiting friends, getting in our car to run errands instead of walking, and watching TV after work instead of engaging in an active hobby is a primary component of why many people worldwide are suffering from chronic illnesses such as heart disease, diabetes, obesity, cancer, depression, osteoporosis, and many more. Factors such as a healthy diet, minimizing emotional stress, and avoiding cigarette smoking are also important in maintaining good health and preventing disease, but without regular physical activity we put ourselves at great risk of serious illnesses and even death.
Why You Should Stop Sitting & Start Exercising
Advances in medicine are at par with the great strides in convenience technology, which means that people can live through some of the most serious chronic illnesses that only a few decades ago were considered fatal with few options for treatment. Unfortunately, quality of life is not guaranteed for patients being treated for serious medical conditions largely caused by a sedentary lifestyle. Individuals struggling with chronic disease must cope with medication side effects, loss of energy or fatigue, limitations in ability to participate in activities of daily living, work or career setbacks, and even with financial difficulties due to costs incurred from medical bills and treatments designed to extend life. So if the idea of being at risk for a chronic illness doesn’t scare you, think of how these illnesses can change your day-to-day routine, your relationship with your family, your income, or you’re ability to derive joy and satisfaction out of life.
What’s Behind Exercise Procrastination?
Many of us are aware that we have to exercise in order to maintain health and quality of life, but for some reason, making it to the gym, the park, or even our local mall for a 20-minute brisk walk becomes the task we too often leave for tomorrow. One of the main culprits for exercise procrastination are believing that exercise needs to be a major production involving equipment, pricey gym memberships, or time. The truth is that breaking out of your sedentary rut can set you back virtually zero dollars and approximately 20-25 minutes of your day. As long as the physical activity is moderate (think: fast-walking, jogging, bicycling, jumping rope) you can exercise anywhere, at any time, with little to no equipment.
Time management and prioritizing tasks are significant causes of procrastination in any area of life, including exercise. This can be off set by setting goals, adhering to a schedule, getting motivated, and finding inspiration to participate in exercise and activity. For some people its finding a walking or gym “buddy” to keep them accountable, while others set weight loss or healthy eating goals. The strategies depend on what works for you and what will get you going to increase your activity with the main mindset against procrastination being to stop making excuses, take action, and do it now.
Awareness of our sedentary tendencies is power; power against watching Netflix before getting on the treadmill, taking the elevator instead of the stairs, or taking the dog for a walk instead of keeping Fluffy company on the front lawn while you surf the net on your smart phone. I suppose we should say, ‘thanks modern technology for making our lives easier, but no thanks for nearly doing away with our energy, our strength, and our health.’ We are not doomed to a sedentary life if we take action to incorporate activity and exercise, making it not only a lifestyle, but also a necessity as significant as drinking water or breathing fresh air. Movement will keep us strong, motivated, hopeful, and balanced to enjoy life and health.
By: Lawrence A. Cogo
Our Solution the Prolonged Sitting Program