You’ve probably heard that physical activity offers numerous health benefits. On the other hand, you should know how negative and dangerous it is to be a sedentary person.
If you’re worried about this, but you’re the type of person who doesn’t really like going to the gym or playing a certain sport, know that all is not lost! There are simple exercises and even some actions performed in everyday life that can help you get out of a sedentary lifestyle!
Risks that sedentary lifestyle offers
A sedentary lifestyle can be defined as a lack of sufficient physical activity and can significantly affect a person’s health and life.
Gustavo Starling Torres, a doctor with a postgraduate degree in Sports Medicine, a member of the Center for the Study of Exercise Physiology and Training (Cefit), and director of the Jungle Fight Championship Medical Commission, highlights that a sedentary life causes the disuse of the organic systems required during the different forms of physical activity, which consequently enter into a process of functional regression.
“Therefore, a sedentary lifestyle is directly or indirectly associated with the causes or aggravation of several diseases, such as coronary heart disease, myocardial infarction, hypertension and cardiovascular diseases in general, osteoporosis, diabetes, obesity and even some types of cancer, leading to premature mortality”, explains the doctor.
Benefits that physical activities offer
There are numerous benefits offered by the regular practice of physical activity. In general, it can be highlighted:
- The practice of physical activity, as highlighted by Gustavo Torres, prevents and reduces the incidence of several health problems, such as coronary heart disease, myocardial infarction, hypertension and cardiovascular diseases in general, osteoporosis, diabetes, obesity and even some types of cancer, the which implies greater survival.
- Dr Torres adds that the activation of organic systems (cardiorespiratory, nervous, endocrine, musculoskeletal, etc.) through physical exercise provides adaptations and improvements. With this, the performance of daily activities is better and easier, providing a better quality of health and life.
- Physical activities improve self-esteem and enable greater socialization.
How to avoid the problem?
But anyway, what does a person need to do to not be considered sedentary?
Torres highlights that the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) suggests, as a minimum recommendation for adults, the practice of moderate aerobic physical activities at least 5 times a week, for at least 30 minutes/day (150 min/week).
“For better conditioning, the basic orientation, for intense aerobic physical activities, is at least 3 times a week, in sessions of no less than 20 minutes, but totaling at least 75 min/week”, adds the postgraduate doctor in Sports Medicine.
Torres points out that moderate aerobic activities can be those that raise the heart rate in a range between 64-76% of maximum heart rate (HRmax) and intense, in the range of 77-93%. “A simple and quick way to estimate HRmax is to subtract the person’s age in years from 220 (HRmax = 220 – age)”, explains the doctor.
The professional also highlights that, ideally, bodybuilding and flexibility exercises should be associated with these activities.
Simple exercises and tips to get rid of a sedentary lifestyle
Below you can find some suggestions on how you can get out of a sedentary lifestyle without necessarily having to go to the gym.
1. Bet on household chores
Torres explains that the 30 minutes of moderate aerobic activity can be cumulative during the day, as long as they are done in sessions of at least 10 minutes. Therefore, household chores with this minimum duration (washing clothes/dishwashing, sweeping the house, etc.) can serve to reach these recommended 30 minutes or even more.
2. Walk a little further
Outside the home environment, a tip, according to Torres, is to park the car intentionally in a place further away from work. With this, naturally the person walks more without great efforts.
“Going on foot to bakeries, grocery stores, etc. not so far from home are some alternatives that can make up a change in habits”, adds the doctor.
3. Bet on a bicycle
Another suggestion is to exchange the car for a bicycle to go to work or to carry out actions such as going to the bakery, grocery stores, pharmacy, etc.
Don’t like going to the gym?! This is not an excuse not to exercise!
“Usually, walking is a good and simple alternative, especially for beginners, whose conditioning level can be an impediment to more intense activities, in addition to being able to be practiced in the most different places and occasions, without the need for large apparatus”, highlights Gustavo Torres. .
Dancing is also a good alternative for those who want to get out of a sedentary lifestyle. It can be practiced in gyms, dance schools or simply at home.
“Dance is also an alternative that can be combined with other types of physical activities, with the advantage of being playful and often motivating”, comments Dr Torres.
6. Jump rope
Jumping rope is an activity that can be performed at home or outdoors. It’s fun and still burns good calories!
7. Going up and down stairs
Purposely walking up and down stairs at home is a good way to exercise without having to go to the gym.
But the tip is to adhere to the habit of going up and down stairs whenever possible: if you work in a building with an elevator, avoid it; when you go to the mall, avoid the escalators etc.
8. Take the dog for a walk
Taking your dog for a walk daily, at least for 30 minutes, is a great way to get out of a sedentary lifestyle. In addition, you will be doing a lot of good for your pet’s health and well-being!
Reasons to get out of a sedentary lifestyle
Gustavo Torres points out that studies have shown that a sedentary lifestyle brings a risk of coronary heart disease similar to high blood pressure, smoking or increased cholesterol. “Unfortunately, for those who don’t like gyms or physical activities in general, the only way we have to escape a sedentary lifestyle, and all the evils associated with it, is through physical exercise. This is an efficient ‘medicine’ as well as a preventative one, with the advantage that it can be cheap (or even no cost at all) and without side effects when done properly,” he says.
For the doctor, before judging whether or not he “likes” exercises, the person’s reasoning should be much simpler and more objective. “If she likes herself, doesn’t want to contract diseases more easily or undergo exams that are often invasive, some painful, in addition to avoiding treatments with the most diverse drugs (and which, if they were ‘good’, would not have this name) and its undesirable side effects, not counting any surgical interventions and their risks/consequences, you should bet on physical exercise which is a powerful ‘elixir’ (a drink with supposedly magical effect) that preserves and restores the health of its users ”, concludes Gustavo Torres.
For all these reasons, don’t waste time: if you still don’t practice physical activity regularly, start exercising little by little, even if it’s by doing more daily activities (such as cleaning the house, walking to work, going upstairs and going down stairs, etc.)… This way, you will progressively achieve a healthier life!
The information contained on this page is for informational purposes only. They do not replace the advice and follow-up of doctors, nutritionists, psychologists, physical education professionals and other specialists.
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