Why a sedentary lifestyle is dangerous for mental health and how easy it is to start moving more
Miscellaneous / / January 14, 2022
Lack of physical activity increases the likelihood of developing anxiety and depression.
How a sedentary lifestyle affects health
The pandemic sent us all into self-isolation and forced us to work remotely. This resulted in us moving much less and sitting on the couch more.
Jacob Mayer, director of the Wellbeing and Exercise Lab at Iowa State University,J. Meyer, C. McDowell, et al. Changes in Physical Activity and Sedentary Behavior in Response to COVID‑19 and Their Associations with Mental Health in 3052 US Adults / International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health own research. He studied the data for the first week of the pandemic and found that people who did little sports and spent a lot of time in front of gadget screens were more likely to feel stress, depression and loneliness.
The results of the second week wereJ.D. Meyer, J. O'Connor, et al. High Sitting Time Is a Behavioral Risk Factor for Blunted Improvement in Depression Across 8 Weeks of the COVID‑19 Pandemic in April–May 2020 / Frontiers in Psychiatry
But there is also good news. Mayer's first study confirmed that even moderate movement within the home can have a positive effect on mood. In addition, physical activity reduces anxiety levels and improves sleep quality. “The more a person moves, the more often he plays sports, the better his mental healthMeyer adds.
However, the problem of a sedentary lifestyle is not limited to those who work remotely. Office routine makes you spend no less time at your desk. To start fighting and beating a sedentary lifestyle, experts advise following a few simple rules.
How to deal with a sedentary lifestyle
Even if you just walk around your apartment or office, it will already increase your level of physical activity and bring benefits.
Sports Psychologist at The Ohio State University.
People who start playing sports often follow the principle of "all or nothing". They think: “Either I won’t train at all, or I will train for 2 hours. And if it doesn’t work out, then this training doesn’t count.” In reality, even 5 minutes of sports is better than nothing.
Meyer notes that the transition from no physical activity to even the most insignificant sports is accompanied by a change in health status for the better. Moreover, the effect of them is in no way inferior to what people who exercise regularly get.
Set yourself challenging goals
If you hate running, don't do it because of fashion or other people's advice. And if you owlDon't torture yourself with early workouts. Try to create conditions that will help you stick to your exercise plan, such as exercising with a loved one and supporting each other.
Sports Psychologist at The Ohio State University.
An integral part of a good exercise plan is knowing yourself and understanding what is possible for you.
Carter herself went in for sports with a friend, and this practice helped her to take training more responsibly. The psychologist reminds that the most difficult thing is to start. Do not scold yourself at the first difficulties and be kind to yourself.
Certified personal trainer Molly MacDonald recommends going up and down stairs more often, or at least walking from one room to another. Do not forget about hiking in the fresh air. Use any free minute for this: take a walk during lunch, take out the trash, go to the nearest cafe, and do not order delivery.
If you work remotely, try an unusual way - "an imaginary road to the office." Every morning take a short walk, for example around the house, and then return to your "work" place. The same will be useful to repeat in the evenings.
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Do a 5 Minute Workout
If you find it difficult to find a specific time for exercising or walking, try to regularly spend a few minutes on very short activities. Coach McDonald notes that even 5 minutes every hour during the day will add up to a full-fledged workout. If you work 8 hours and stick to this approach, you will end up with a 40-minute workout.
In addition, experts adviseWhat's your move? /U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Spend 150 minutes a week doing moderate aerobic activity. And these 40 minutes a day will help you reach the recommended figure much earlier. Therefore, add five-minute sports to your calendar or set timer.
Keep track of your exercise intensity
A minute of intense exercise leads to much more noticeable positive changes than a minute of not too intense. Therefore, the more you can do in 5 minutes, the better.
If you want to make short workouts more rewarding, McDonald suggests choosing squats, lunges, push-ups, and planks. Many bodyweight exercises are especially beneficial during the day because they help circulation. If you've never done this before, start with squats.
- 30 bodyweight exercises that will get you in shape
As for the number of repetitions, McDonald notes that there is no magic number. It all depends on how much time you have.
In addition, you can use dumbbells or any available items, such as a jar of peas or a bag of sugar. The main thing is not to use something too heavy. You don’t need to overstrain at all - training has a positive effect on mental health in any case.
Do household chores that keep you moving
Especially when you have to walk or stand. For example, take breaks from work to take out the trash or wash the dishes. After sitting in one place for a long time, this will help blood circulation, and therefore the whole body.
Do exercises during phone calls or Zoom calls. Of course, only in cases where you do not need to turn on the camera. And don't forget to turn off the microphone: you don't want your co-workers to hear you puffing while doing squats or lunges.
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