In recent years more and more studies are being conducted on the effects of sedentary lifestyle on our health. Unfortunately, evidence is mounting that sitting is slowly but surely killing us. Ultimately our bodies are built to move and be active. When we sit, especially for prolonged periods of time, we slouch putting strain on the back and spinal cord and preventing our chest from expanding fully. This means we get less oxygen, and combined with slower circulation due to lack of motion, this is harmful to our bodies and health.
Additionally, the risk of some cancers, heart disease and dementia are reduced by almost half in active people compared to those with a sedentary lifestyle. Physical activity also reduces the risk of type 2 diabetes significantly.
So what can you do if you have a sedentary job? Walking is the ideal exercise that can easily be incorporated into your daily routine. It strengthens your heart and helps you stay lean and fit. It tones your legs and butt and lifts your mood (by means of endorphins). There is evidence that older people who walk more than 6 miles per week are more likely to avoid brain shrinkage and preserve memory as years go by. What’s even more astonishing is that walking doesn’t only prevent heart disease but it can actually cure or improve it. Research conducted on 8,946 patients showed that moderate exercise such as walking regularly produced a 26% reduction in the risk of death from heart disease and a 20% reduction in the overall death rate.
But you may be skeptical due to lack of time or bad weather. There are many smart ways to incorporate walking into your daily routine even if you do have a busy schedule.
- Ditch the elevator in favor of stairs – in the office or on the way home to your apartment take the stairs. It may not seem like much but done daily it will provide some valuable extra exercise.
- Hop off the bus a stop early or walk wherever you can. If you aren’t going far swap driving or public transport for walking. If it’s far, simply get off the bus early and walk the last part of the route.
- Instead of watching tv – go for a walk in your spare time. Find a nice park or forest and enjoy the nature around you. It is guaranteed to relax you better than tv.
These are only some examples of how small changes may make a huge difference for your mind and body and improve your health.