We have not left our sofas or makeshift home offices since March. Due to COVID constraints, all leisure time has been spent inside, seated in front of a TV or computer. While we have grown accustomed to staying at home, it is becoming increasingly difficult to maintain a healthy level of physical activity.
According to scientific studies, adults need to get 150 to 300 minutes of moderate-to-vigorous exercise per week, to live a healthy life. Unfortunately, approximately one-third of the world's population does not meet this minimum suggested requirement, and only about 5% of people engage in 30 minutes of physical activity per day. Adults who were already failing to meet physical activity guidelines before the COVID-19 pandemic are now spending more time at home and are much less active. We have all succumbed to a sedentary lifestyle.
Sedentary behavior is defined as "spending an excessive amount of time sitting, reclining, or lying down that has a very low energy cost, with little to no exercise"
Sedentary behavior has been related to severe health problems. Obesity is one of the most evident direct consequences of sedentary living. Obesity and sedentary lifestyles account for at least 300,000 premature deaths and $90 billion in direct healthcare costs in the US alone. A study published in Nature associated sedentary behavior with an increased risk of depression.
Another large-scale study found that people who are sedentary are more likely to acquire severe symptoms from COVID-19 infections and are also more likely to die from the disease.
Sedentary behavior, such as lying in front of computer displays during lockdown, has also resulted in the development of poor posture, which many have dubbed a "pandemic posture" epidemic. In the long run, this pandemic posture can lead to migraines, circulation issues, temporomandibular joint dysfunction, tiredness, and arthritis. It is also associated with increased back pain, which may make a person less likely to become active.
However, a year of sedentary seclusion is unlikely to cause irreparable harm. Even if you have been considerably more sedentary than usual for the greater part of the year, scheduling in just a half-hour of daily physical exercise can begin to reverse those bad effects.
Physical activity and exercise are effective forms of medicine for improving health, preventing sickness, boosting cardiorespiratory fitness, and optimizing immune function. According to an analysis published in Circulation, engaging in 150 minutes of moderate to vigorous exercise each week reduced the risk of coronary heart disease by 14 percent.
In addition to physical activity, the following can be done to reduce inactive time. Take short active breaks from work, such as getting a quick trip of tea or water, to avoid sitting for too long. Take phone calls while walking around your house or office. Set a timer for every hour while you are working to remind you to take a walk. Make it a daily habit to visit the neighbourhood park. Even something as basic as alternating between sitting and standing every 30 minutes will help.
Take small measures at first. It does not have to be strenuous. Keep the activity levels high! This is especially crucial now, as Covid cases are resurging across the world.
Submitted by Drishti