The relatively new phrase going around the fitness world is something along the lines of “sitting is the new smoking”. As crazy as it may sound, this is a fair comparison. A simple search reveals dozens of studies eluting to the deleterious effects brought on by too much time spent sitting down; one study even demonstrated the link between excessive time sitting and a significant rise in all causes mortality.
This infographic is a bit more aggressive in illustrating the drawbacks of too much time spent in the chair or on the couch.
When I say move, I do not necessarily mean exercise. Of course, exercising multiple times a week using whatever modality you prefer is great for bettering and maintaining your health. Movement however, is even easier to build as a habit because you don’t need a gym, equipment, or to dedicate a full hour of your time towards something. Instead, the only thing you need is, well, your body. After all, movement is to simply allow your body to do what it is designed for.
Try these habits:
If you work at a desk, and don’t want to go to the extreme of creating your own stand-up workstation, you can simply take a break every 30-60 minutes to walk around, do some squats, or take a trip up and down a flight of stairs. The most common response to this suggestion is that constant breaks will hinder the amount of work you get down. Quite the contrary, studies have shown frequent breaks and physical movement increase productivity as well as creativity when working on projects.
On the quest for a healthier lifestyle, stress is so commonly the number one factor in holding people back. How often have you heard that a healthy mind makes for a healthy body? Although it may sound a bit woo-woo, the mind-body connection has been demonstrated by science to be a very real thing and the health implications brought on by chronic stress in particular are staggering.
Yet again we return to mindfulness. So often do we wait to see how we feel until we are especially happy, sad, fatigued, or angry. By taking some time each day to be mindful of how you feel is a great way to help pinpoint what it is you may need to work on in order to better manage your stress and reach your health/fitness goals.
Try these tips:
Deep breathing before bed is great way to ensure for a better night sleep. Mark Divine presents in his book Unbeatable Mind a terrific deep breathing exercise called “box breathing”. The protocol is simple
Meditating for just 10 minutes a day has been proven to significantly reduce stress. By using an app such as Headspace you can easily slip into a guided meditation session.
All the health/fitness information readily available at your figure tips can easily lead you towards decision fatigue, “majoring in minors”, or becoming too overwhelmed to make the necessary advances to a healthy life style. Remember patience is crucial in successfully making changes, so keeping a big picture mindset will go a long way to help keep you focused during a marathon transition. To major in a minor simply means t put too much emphasis on little details (ie: should I be eating broccoli or spinach?) instead or concentrating on fundamentals (ie: am I eating vegetables?). Pareto’s law, or the 80/20 rule, is something just about all health/fitness coaches should be reminding clients. It’s not what you eat/do twenty percent of the time that kills you, but what you eat/do eighty percent of the time. Keeping this in mind will help you to not get down on yourself when you occasionally miss a workout or stray from your meal plan from time to time. Life is short, so make your pursuit for a healthy lifestyle enjoyable by focusing on easy to adopt habits.