This content has been produced by DeltaV Partners.
What is a sedentary lifestyle?
A sedentary lifestyle is defined as a type of lifestyle where an individual does not receive regular amounts of physical activity. Sadly, our 21st century environment is often set up to promote being sedentary; whether that’s commuting, workstations or our home lives, we often choose to sit and remain sedentary. Sit, relax and enjoy your time in front of the television, but we just need to limit the time and incorporate physical activity into our lifestyles.
What is the musculoskeletal system?
The musculoskeletal system is made up of the bones of the skeleton, muscles, cartilage, tendons, ligaments, joints, and other connective tissue that supports and binds tissues and organs together. It does a fascinating job of providing form, support, stability, and movement to the body, working faultlessly since our primitive ancestors stepped one foot in front of the other. However, over time our amazing musculoskeletal system has become inhibited, vulnerable to injury and ‘rigid’ for many of us.
Quick test – attempt to copy the picture below, mimicking the form.
Are you finding it tough? You won’t be alone. However, many cultures around the world that don’t use chairs and desks still have that same amount of mobility and flexibility. Interesting, isn’t it?
The need for movement and exercise
There are numerous health related benefits of not being sedentary, highlighting the need to commit time to movement and exercise. Consider more than the conventional one-hour training session, it’s great but there’s a need to move regularly, stretch and walk to break the long periods of sitting.
- People who are more active are less likely to be overweight or obese
- Increase in skeletal muscle mass
- Lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels
- Increase in mood and self-esteem
- Increase in productivity levels
- More energy.
- Decrease the risks of certain cancers
- Less likely to suffer with anxiety and depression
- Less likely to develop coronary heart disease
- Less likely to suffer with certain cardiovascular diseases
- Less chance of serious musculoskeletal disorders
- Live a healthier, longer life.
Movement, cognitive function and ageing
Exercise affects the brain in many ways. It increases heart rate, which allows more oxygen to travel to the brain. It aids the release of hormones which provide an excellent environment for the growth of brain cells. Exercise also promotes brain plasticity by stimulating growth of new connections between cells in many important cortical areas of the brain.
Research also suggests it can decrease the effects of ageing. Telomeres, the caps at the end of chromosomes that control the ageing process, get shorter as we age. Regular exercise has shown to lengthen the telomeres, which slows down the ageing clock.
Working from home and movement
In our minds, how you start your day is essential so think how you can get your early dose of movement. Evidence shows that exercise promotes the ‘feel good’ hormones, serotonin, dopamine, oxytocin and endorphins, so why wouldn’t we want these first thing in the morning.
However, with our current situation it might not be as easy, but here’s some ideas:
- Rise early before the rest of the household to exercise
- Go out for a run, walk or cycle, following government guidelines
- Involve the family in a morning stretch or yoga session
- Follow a guided workout, there’s many to choose online. You can also find some examples here.
Get creative with your workstation, even if you have an office. A good example of this is creating your own standing desk. Simply place a chair (carefully) on your kitchen table and place your laptop on the chair. It will elevate the screen to your eye line and allow you to stand or move while working.
With working from home, you have probably gained some time. Use this time to exercise, with or without your family.
Consider taking all your calls on your feet and if you have a garden, take your calls out there while walking. This is a simple way to get on the move.
Stretch regularly, every hour if possible. You don’t have the awkwardness of performing stretches in front of others so jump away from your workstation and perform a few of the following. Perform each of the stretches for 20 to 30 seconds.
Top tip – set a timer for 30 minutes
Every time the clock goes off, stand (if you’re not already standing), and perform some stretches or exercises, walk for two minutes or go and grab a healthy snack. This will drastically reduce your time being sedentary.