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Overcoming a Sedentary Lifestyle

Many of us experienced changes to our lifestyles during the pandemic. It resulted in many of us working from home for extended periods of time and a change to our typical daily routine. Many have noticed that they’re subsequently eating more and moving less during the day.

A sedentary lifestyle is defined as a type of lifestyle with little or no physical activity. Working from the comfort of our own homes has meant we are spending increasingly more time sitting down or stationary for prolonged periods of time. Many jobs involve sitting at a desk, in front of a screen, for an average of 8-10 hours a day, not allowing for much activity, as well as then being combined with us sleeping for around 7-9 hours each night.

Being physically inactive and sitting down for prolonged periods can have a detrimental impact on our long-term health outcomes. Physical inactivity has been linked to increased risk of the prevalence of noncommunicable diseases, such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes and cancer as well as their risk factors such as raised blood pressure, raised blood sugar and being overweight.

Recommended levels of physical activity for health

We know that exercising regularly helps strengthen muscles and improves flexibility and can be good for our mental wellbeing too. For adults, the World Health Organisation recommend healthy adults to do at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic physical activity throughout the week, or to do at least 75 minutes of vigorous intensity aerobic physical activity through the week.

This activity could include brisk walking, riding a bike, dancing, hiking, running, swimming, circuit training or team sports. Muscle-strengthening activities involving major muscle groups are also recommended to be done on 2 or more days a week to increase muscle mass, bone strength and joint flexibility.

 

Ways to reduce your sedentary behaviour

If you’re still struggling for motivation then remember, exercise has also been shown to improve anxiety, depression and negative mood as well as self-esteem and cognitive function. So find the time to schedule it into your day and reap the benefits you know it will bring.

 

References

  • World Health Organisation (2010) Global recommendations on physical activity for health. Available at: https://www.who.int/dietphysicalactivity/publications/9789241599979/en/
  • Healy GN, Dunstan DW, Shaw JE, Zimmet PZ, Salmon J, Owen N and Cerin E. Break in Sedentary Time. Beneficial associations with metabolic risk. Diabetes Care 2008 Vol 31(4) Apr 661-666