The sedentary lifestyle, of which a lot of us are accustomed to, seems to be on the rise in the information age. Everything that we might need in the course of a day is now either a click or phone call away, which gives us a lot more of an excuse to sit in our favorite chair. The repercussions of this sitting habit can be calamitous if left unattended to so it is important to balance out our rest time with beneficial activity for our bodies. Not only are the potential sicknesses physical but mental as well. If left long-term, these repercussions can yield an array of life threatening ailments worst of all. So if you avoid the favorite chair and take a walk you will feel a lot better about yourself and be on the path to good health. Setting a good example is a major factor in the sedentary struggle. If we take getting up and going out of the mundane trend, we put it in a trend others can get into. Fergus Walsh, a medical correspondent for BBC, paints the global reality’s need for activity in his article, Sedentary Lifestyles Can Kill, Walsh states, ”There’s nothing wrong with going to the gym of course, but the aim is to encourage everyone to build physical activity into their daily lives, such as by walking, cycling, swimming, gardening or doing any sport they enjoy. The trouble is, all that sounds familiar. We all know we should move more and sit less. Despite that, one in three adults worldwide fails to do the recommended 150 minutes of moderate aerobic physical activity per week.”
If an average third of our adult population isn’t getting the required amount of activity and it just gets easier for all of us to sit in our favorite chair than what does this mean for future generations? It is everyone’s responsibility, for each other and themselves, to learn that we can’t kid ourselves about our chosen lifestyle. A third of the hours that we spend watching T.V. we could be putting into taking the dog for a walk, and, better yet, why not ask a friend to join? We could ride our bike to pick up a pizza than order it for delivery from the couch. Instead of texting a friend from our bed for hours, we could walk to their house and have an actual conversation on the way to a park. These instrumental changes all being the littlest ways to improve. Besides taking a little time to do the prior activities each day, we owe it to ourselves to punctuate our long sitting sprees with moments of movement like Fergus Walsh had stated. One course of action I have taken is having technology be my drill sergeant towards staying active. Set your daily alarm for two hour intervals to play your favorite get-up-and-go song (mine’s James Brown’s “Get Up Offa That Thing”). When it plays every two hours, if you’re working at your computer, get up when the music starts and a bust a move while no one is watching and I guarantee one will find this habit to have beneficial effects in one’s mood at tenacity. The way we feel in Chicago during this time of year is especially important due to a condition some call Seasonal Affective Disorder. This type of clinical depression, Web M.D. states, targets, “People who live in areas where winter days are very short or there are big changes in the amount of daylight in different seasons.” So how does this relate to sedentary lifestyles and our brains? During the winter days when most of us couch potatoes are lounging away, sipping cocoa, we’re missing a valuable window of day light to keep our brains happy.
Web M.D. posits a plausible reason for how getting off your rump can be important in the winter time, “Experts are not sure what causes SAD, but they think it may be caused by a lack of sunlight. Lack of light may upset your sleep-wake cycle and other circadian rhythms. And it may cause problems with a brain chemical called serotonin that affects mood.” If we can take a walk in the snow during the daylight and release some much needed endorphins in doing so we won’t just be doing our body good, but our mind as well. Though there are select cases of SAD, it may go without saying that if we were not meant to hibernate in winter as humans then we probably shouldn’t, right? This compounds the age-old idiom, a healthy body is the way to a healthy mind. Unfortunately for those who will never avert themselves from the groove they have made on the sofa are more liable to experience the worst result of this issue, the sedentary building blocks for susceptibility to fatal ailments.
Sedentariness with causing and accompanied by obesity is a known causation leading to cancer. Our cell health may be in jeopardy if we don’t take heed of a little of these activities each day to prevent it. Also, other maladies with a relationship to sedentary sloth that are worth checking out are: cardiovascular disease, stroke, colon cancer, high-blood pressure, diabetes, bed sores and rashes. We can do ourselves a favor by looking into these ailments individually and seeing if we can apply their prevention into our own lives. So this year when you’re gearing up to watch your many-hours of television marathons of This is America, Charlie Brown and A Christmas Carol, after eating a heavy meal of starches, glucose and red and white meats, I ask you, put on your sweat suit, and take a hike through your hopefully winter wonderland and say to yourself, “I’m healthy.” Get up off the couch, America, and finish the race in having an average or even above average life expectancy. You will be happy you did because the fire inside is frightful, but the weather is so delightful.