Have you ever tried tracking how much of your day is spent sitting? Of your waking hours, do you often find yourself seated at a desk or a table for much of the day, or lounging on a couch at home after a long day? Here’s a look at why you should get active and some tips to help you get started!
The Perils Of Sitting For Too Long
If your typical day includes sitting for lengths of time that could put you at greater risk of some health issues. It slows down your metabolism and may result in insulin resistance. Research suggests it could elevate the risk of type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and even some cancers. It can also take its toll on your energy levels. By staying in one position for a long time, your body doesn’t burn as much energy and your digestion tends to be less efficient, resulting in the retention of more fat and sugar in the body. This is why it comes as no surprise that excessive time spent sitting has been dubbed the ‘new smoking’, for the ill effects it can have.
Why An Active Lifestyle Is Important
If you have diabetes, there are many reasons to be more active. It can improve insulin sensitivity, help maintain healthy blood sugar levels, aid weight loss, improve mood and reduce anxiety, and help with lowering bad cholesterol and raising good cholesterol levels. Your target should be a total of 150 or more minutes of moderate-intensity exercise each week.
Tips To Get More Active
It may not be possible to overhaul your lifestyle overnight. But you can make some little tweaks and additions that can transform your day and reduce how much time you spend sitting.
- Schedule a slot for workouts every day. Even 20-30 minutes will do if you don’t have weight loss goals and are merely looking to get active.
- Try to find opportunities to stand and walk. Take your phone calls while pacing the office meeting room/balcony or even step out if you can and walk in the park or around the building when taking calls at home.
- Start taking the stairs instead of the lift. Don’t overdo it, but if you have the stamina and haven’t been told to avoid this by your doctor, go ahead.
- Get a convertible standing desk at work so you can raise or lower it as needed to switch seamlessly from a sitting to a standing position several times a day.
- Even if you cannot work out every day of the week, set a reminder on your phone to get up and stretch or walk a little every 30 minutes or so.
- Invest in a fitness tracker to watch your activity levels – besides counting steps and exercise, some will also remind you that it is time to move or stand.
- Download an app that will track your activity levels and movement.