We are designed to move. Don’t believe us, try lying in bed for days on end without moving and see how enjoyable that feels.
Would you be surprised to hear that many, to most, of us live a sedentary lifestyle? Often sedentary is thought to mean someone who doesn’t exercise. The reality is that sedentarism is defined by our most frequent behavior. So while we might exercise for short and intense bouts most days of the week, that is not how we spend the majority of our time. Instead, many of us sit at our desks on the computer or phone, lounge in front of the television, relax on the couch reading a book, or lie in bed. The bottom line is that much of our time is spent in a sedentary state.
The World Health Organization estimated that 60-85% of people in the world live sedentary lives. While we might be familiar with the benefits of physical fitness, many of us don’t realize the harms of not moving. Sedentary lifestyles increase all causes of death; double the risk of heart disease, diabetes, and obesity; and increase the risk of high blood pressure, high cholesterol, certain cancers (colon, breast and uterine), osteoporosis, anxiety and depression.
We find a lot of reasons for avoiding exercise – no time, no money for gym memberships, no energy and so on. Sadly these are convenient excuses. The reality is that a strategy exists to help overcome each and every one of those hurdles. For one thing, we don’t need to formally exercise hence no need for a gym. Instead, we can incorporate movement into our daily activities thereby not needing additional time. Take the stairs instead of the elevator at work. Use your coffee breaks for taking a walk or stretching. Stand on one leg for a minute, then alternate, while brushing your teeth. Feeling too tired to move? Ironically, the more we move the more energy we have to keep moving.
If structured exercise feels cumbersome or boring, don’t do it. Instead, find an activity that you do enjoy…and do that, as much and as often as you can. Dance, hike, run, play sports with friends, garden, swim, play frisbee at the park, jump rope, walk your dog – the options are abundant so find what works best for you. At WeHeal, we help you stay active by finding movement that you enjoy.