In a world where lifestyle-related diseases like obesity, heart problems and diabetes are becoming common, health has slowly made its way back on everyone’s priority list. That said, people are looking for shortcuts to quickly bring body parameters to what is considered a healthy range. As a result, there are numerous diets, exercises and other methods to help people recover their health. Unfortunately, the need for maintaining a healthy lifestyle is often lost in the discussion. Sedentary Lifestyle is unhealthy.
How are we living and how should we live?
Life is more than just existence or survival. It’s all about choices. The choices that we make determine our physical and emotional health. It also plays a major role in critical aspects of our life like personality, confidence, success and self-esteem. The lifestyle of the average person today is probably unhealthy.
For many people, work means long hours of sitting or standing while doing something that involves very little physical activity. Combine that with hours spent watching television or using gadgets, and it’s obvious that their body hardly gets any exercise. A sedentary lifestyle will eventually lead to obesity and other health problems. Exercise is a natural stress buster. So, lack of exercise may result in high stress levels.
How does an inactive lifestyle affect your body?
When you have an inactive lifestyle,
- You burn fewer calories. This makes you more likely to gain weight.
- You may lose muscle strength and endurance, because you are not using your muscles as much
- Your bones may get weaker and lose some mineral content
- Your metabolism may be affected, and your body may have more trouble breaking down fats and sugars
- Your immune system may not work as well
- You may have poorer blood circulation
- Your body may have more inflammation
- You may develop a hormonal imbalance
- People who are physically inactive have an increased risk of colon and breast cancer. One study showed a 40% decrease in cancer mortality in persons who were physically active compared to those who were inactive.
- Regular physical activity helps reduce the risk of cognitive decline. One study reported that there was a 50% reduction in the risk of dementia in older persons who maintained regular bouts of physical activity.
- People who are sedentary have the highest rate of heart attack. In the Nurses’ Health Study, women who were physically active 3 hours or more per week (half an hour daily) cut their risk of heart attack in half.
- Stroke, which is often referred to as a brain attack, affects approximately 730,000 people annually. Data from the Aerobics Research Center in Dallas, Texas, found that physically active men lowered their risk of stroke by two-thirds. And in the Nurses’ Health Study, physically active women decreased their risk of stroke by 50%.
The problem of sedentary lifestyle is made worse by reckless eating. Eating seems to help because food, especially sugary and fatty food, is comforting. On one hand, people starve the body of essential nutrients and on the other, they eat many more calories than they burn. The result is obesity and more lifestyle related health issues.
Despite the conveniences, life these days is not easy. People have long-term commitments like careers and mortgages to worry about and there are many uncertainties. This results in needless worry. As a result, anxiety and uncontrolled stress takes a toll on both body and mind. Relationships are becoming shallow due to increasing reliance on digital means of communication, social media friendships and a lack of genuine people to people contact.
Combine this with low self-esteem, lack of sleep and an unsatisfactory life and we have the perfect recipe for depression. Depression is probably the most common mental health issue in modern societies.
Unhealthy lifestyle has made obesity, diabetes and heart diseases common. These diseases make an already bad situation worse. As people age, many of them fall prey to dementia and debilitating diseases like Alzheimer’s. Is this what our lives were meant to be? People who lived in an era with less comforts and conveniences lived happily and retained their health for a longer period of time.
The choice is ours. We can switch to healthy lifestyles and bring health and happiness back into our lives or we can continue the futile search for new shortcuts to fix health problems that were a result of our own mistakes in the first place.
Switching to a healthy lifestyle is not too difficult. Reduce Sedentary Lifestyle.
A healthy lifestyle has several components, but if you take care of the essentials given below, the benefits will automatically follow. If you have any medical conditions, it’s important to check with your doctor before making any changes to your lifestyle.
- If your job is sedentary, it’s important to exercise daily. You can start with brisk walking as it is safe even if you are overweight. Although 30 minutes is the minimum, try to get at least one hour of physical activity every day. You can split this into 20 or 30-minute sessions.
- Ensure that your diet is balanced and contains the right amounts of all major food groups. Limit the portions at each meal to keep calories in check and drink plenty of water.
- Get adequate sleep; 7 to 9 hours a day is ideal.
- Manage stress. You can make use of relaxation techniques such as meditation and yoga. You can also divert your mind to enjoyable things like music and dance.
- Give up tobacco and alcohol. Stop unnecessary and excessive use of over the counter drugs.
- Live in a healthy home that does not have components made up of toxic chemicals. A healthy home will help maintain good indoor air quality and reduce the risk of problems like asthma and allergy.
The benefits of a healthy lifestyle
If you lead a healthy lifestyle, you can expect the following benefits over the years.
- You will experience high energy levels, alertness and concentration. Exercise makes your heart and muscles stronger and you will feel the difference in energy. You will also perform better in all your activities.
- You will feel stronger and have more stamina because your muscles become stronger and your breathing capacity improves. Your metabolism rate will also improve and your body will burn more calories.
- You will lose excess weight as a result of exercise, balanced diet and higher metabolism rates.
- Your mood will improve as you feel better about yourself. Your self-esteem and confidence levels will go up. Stress and anxiety will go down. Overall, you will be in a much better emotional state. This will also improve your relationship with others and you will maintain a positive outlook towards life.
- You immune system will become stronger and you will not fall sick easily. Your risk of diseases like Type-2 diabetes and heart disease will go down. A healthy diet and giving up tobacco and alcohol reduces the risk of cancer. Living in a healthy home will also reduce the risk of disease.
- You will sleep better. A routine with adequate physical exercise gives you the right amount of physical exhaustion to ensure a good night’s sleep.
- You will look better and the ageing process will slow down. Balanced diet, exercise, improved sleep and reduced stress levels will work wonders on your skin.
- You will be an inspiration and role model for others.
A healthy home – An essential part of a healthy lifestyle
A healthy home plays a major role in keeping you healthy. Toxic materials used in many conventional building materials expose residents to harmful chemicals. Healthy homes use non-toxic building materials, which helps in maintaining good indoor air quality and reduces the risk of allergy, asthma and other respiratory problems. If you are unsure about the materials used in your home, have it checked to remove what contains any harmful materials.
Adopt a healthy lifestyle and you will get immediate rewards. There are no drastic changes to make. It just takes a little determination and discipline. Once you experience the benefits of a healthy lifestyle, you will not think about going back to old unhealthy ways.