Why You Should Sit Less and Walk More

Living under quarantine protocols encouraged more people to toss physical activities aside. But here's why you shouldn't.

Have you also been stuck at your desk these days?

Staying at home and following safety measures have been a huge part of our routine in the new normal. And while some people turned to fitness for balance, many more have developed a sedentary lifestyle.

According to a recent international survey, the average sitting time has increased from 5 hours to 8 hours a day. Meanwhile, a study reveals that children and adolescents now spend 28 more hours in screen time per week since the pandemic.

With travel restrictions forcing us to squeeze everything into the online space, it's easy to see how we've arrived at these numbers. But this doesn't mean it's something we should continue to happen.

Too much sitting does more harm than you think.

If you're hesitant to lead a more active lifestyle, this recent study published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine will make you think otherwise. The study reveals that COVID-19 patients who were consistently inactive before contracting the virus have higher risks of severe infection and hospitalization than physically active patients.

However, this finding is not entirely surprising. Physical inactivity alone is the fourth leading risk factor for global mortality. Perpetuating sedentary behaviors opens doors to a variety of ailments and diseases from weight gain and high blood pressure to more serious risks such as type 2 diabetes and heart disease. But thankfully, several health experts have already been intervening to curb these effects with their slew of policies and recommendations.

Managing the global sitting disease

In 2018, the World Health Organization launched the Global Action Plan on Physical Activity, which called for a 15% reduction in global physical inactivity by 2030. One of the policies also called for the creation of supportive environments to encourage communities to live more actively. And as of 2020, it would appear that 92% of 176 countries already had formal written policies for physical activity in place.

However, the worldwide call to limit outside trips and social gatherings may have put an indefinite pause to these efforts. Nevertheless, we shouldn't let these new protocols undermine the effects of physical inactivity altogether. Even while at home, shifting course towards a healthier path can be simple enough and only requires a firm commitment on your end.

How to change up your routine

The physical activity guidelines set by WHO recommend that adults have 150 minutes of moderate exercise or an equivalent of 75 minutes of vigorous workout per week. On the other hand, children and adolescents should do at least 60 minutes of moderate-to-vigorous exercise per day.

A few minutes of exercise is better than none at all.

So if you can't commit to a full-blown workout regimen, here are a few practical tips on how to make your workday more active.

1. Get a fitness tracker

Monitoring your progress with an activity tracker makes it easier for you to determine whether you're nearing your fitness goal. The daily recommendation is to get at least 10,000 steps. But don't worry, it's also acceptable to go for less if you're starting out. Make sure to work at your own pace and challenge yourself to improve along the way.

2. Have morning walks

If your location permits, wake up early for a morning walk around the block. In this way, exercise would literally be the first thing that you tick off out of your agenda. Not to mention, you'll definitely enjoy the fresh air after being cooped up for so long inside the house. But don't forget to wear a mask.

To kick start your day, you can drink a glass of Berocca Performance for a refreshing and energetic boost. It's packed with Vitamin B-Complex, Vitamin C with added Calcium, Magnesium, and Zinc —all the nutrients you need to greet your mornings on a positive note.

3. Clean the house

The simplest (and probably the most practical) way to squeeze in physical activity is through house chores. Gardening, doing the laundry, or washing the dishes are great activities that get you moving while also helping you clear your mental clutter. Did you know that organizing and cleaning up your space works wonders for your mental health?

4. Set an alarm for short breaks

Working straight from 9 to 5 isn't good for your spine. Try to get up and stretch your muscles to improve your blood flow. But for busy days, it's easy to forget this simple task. That's why it's best to set the alarm every 30 minutes to remind you it's time to stretch and walk around.

5. Warm-up while watching your favorite show

Being tied down to your home office all day and cozying up to your favorite series at night can leave you with little time for exercise. While watching, you can multitask by doing some simple warm-ups like stretching, yoga, or moderate strength training.

Time to get up and move.

It's easy to fall into a sedentary lifestyle when you can manage your whole life through a digital screen. But this new arrangement shouldn't ever be the cause for you to toss physical activity aside completely.

Don't wait for your inactive lifestyle take a toll on your health. While there is still time, make simple changes to your routine starting today. Squeezing in a few minutes to walk around between work hours can significantly help to increase your levels of physical wellness. By developing a daily routine, you can also set clear boundaries for your work and downtime that will put you in the right mindset.

Small efforts go a long way. And although the long-term benefits may not be as glamorous as other material achievements, your body will certainly know the difference.

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