A man arrives in the office and sits in front of his computer. After a long day at work, with only bathroom breaks and lunch breaks as his means to stand up and move, he leaves the office. He slacks off on his couch upon arriving home and watches tennis tournaments while eating his dinner in front of the TV. He goes to bed and wakes up the other day. The cycle continues.
Does this scene sound familiar? We are currently living in a digital-based era and it’s not surprising how a majority of us find ourselves stuck in a sedentary lifestyle. People, whether it’s for work or leisure, spend most of the day scrunched in a chair. The problem here is humans are meant to move. And if our terrible vices like smoking and drinking can’t kill us, physical inactivity will.
If you want to escape from a sedentary lifestyle and be fit and healthy, you must not ignore the signals your body is telling you. Here are five clear signs you’re living a sedentary lifestyle and you have to move more.
- You’re gaining weight
If you’re guilty of living a sedentary lifestyle, don’t get surprised if you find it difficult to fit in your pants. Weight gain is one of the most obvious signs of physical inactivity. You gain weight because you consume more calories than your body is able to burn.
Obesity not only affects your physical appearance but also affects the overall health by increasing the risk of heart disease, high blood pressure, stroke, diabetes, osteoarthritis, and even infertility.
You don ‘t necessarily have to visit the gym to be physically active. Simply moving those lazy muscles through walking, running, dancing, yoga, and engaging in recreational activities like tennis and badminton, can improve your weight and reduce the health risks of obesity.
- You’re constantly fatigued
Have you ever felt the struggle of taking the 10-level stairs and you feel like as if you have climbed a hill? It takes little activity for you to run out of breath and you always feel tired and sluggish even with adequate food and sleep. The uncomfortable sensation is a clear sign you have to move more.
Individuals with sedentary lifestyle have heavy breathing at rest and low body oxygenation before exercise, which are the reasons why they normally complain about fatigue and tend to be lazy. Some people even feel worse after a physical activity.
So the trick is to take it slow. You can start through baby steps such as taking the stairs instead of the escalator or elevator, go for a walk during lunch breaks instead of having your food delivered and eaten at your desk, or choosing outdoor sports over video games during the weekends. A study from the University of Georgia found that just 20 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise thrice a week can boost a person’s energy levels by 20 percent.
- You’re suddenly experiencing pain
Body aches, usually in your lower back, neck, shoulders, and knees, aren’t always clear signs of getting old but also getting lazy and inactive. When you experience these aches, you tend to rest and wait for them to go away. But since these aches are signs of physical inactivity, there’s no other way to ease the pain than getting your body in motion according to certified personal trainers Michelle Blakely and Jim Karas.
Exercising moves your muscles, loosens your joints, and gets your blood pumping to specific areas of your body, which lessens the pain.
- Your digestion is out of sync
Do you often experience indigestion and constipation? Maybe your gut is telling you to get up and move more. Aside from stimulating your breathing and heart rate, aerobic exercise also improves the contraction of your intestinal muscles. The digested food passes through your intestines and out of your body rapidly, making you more “regular.”
- You’re stressed
If you feel your stress levels getting higher, making you more prone to anxiety and depression, the lack of physical activity may be one of the leading culprits. Researchers at Deakin University’s Centre for Physical Activity and Nutrition Research in Australia found that low-energy activities, like working at a computer all day or simply crouching over your phone, eat away your mental acuity and make anxiety worse.
One excellent way to regulate your hormones? Exercise. A study published in the Journal of Health Psychology found that participants in a 10-week study had significant cognitive and psychological improvement due to exercise.
Mina Salva Cruz has always been fascinated by how sports can improve one’s overall physical and mental health in a more pleasurable way. She shares her insights by regularly writing for StrungOut, a one-stop-shop for tennis enthusiasts in Australia, providing high-quality tennis racquets, accessories, and sportswear from world-acclaimed brands since 1992.