How to overcome a sedentary lifestyle?

In the 21st century, most people are leading a sedentary lifestyle. Sedentary lifestyles are increasing and being followed in many nations despite being the reason for a range of chronic health conditions. What is a sedentary lifestyle? A lifestyle with a lot of sitting and lying down, with very little to no exercise, is called a sedentary lifestyle. It is also called an inactive lifestyle.  A person living a sedentary lifestyle is mostly sitting or lying down while engaging in work or an activity for most of the day. Physical inactivity can have serious implications for people’s health. WHO issued a warning that a sedentary lifestyle could very well be among the 10 leading causes of death and disability in the world.

A sedentary lifestyle increases all causes of mortality, doubles the risk of cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, and obesity, and increases the risks of colon cancer, high blood pressure, osteoporosis, lipid disorders, depression, and anxiety. According to WHO, 60 to 85% of people in the world from both developed and developing countries lead a sedentary lifestyle, making it one of the more serious yet insufficiently addressed public health problems of our time. It is estimated that nearly two-thirds of children are also insufficiently active, with serious implications for their future health. Look at some of the tips to overcome a sedentary lifestyle:

Tips to overcome sedentary lifestyle

Increase physical activity

According to some of the researches, physical activities including exercise and sports can reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, obesity, and early death. There are evidences which shows that exercise can improve mental health. In 2018, a study found that 1,237,194 people those who exercised reported fewer mental health problems than those who did not. You can try combination of a variety of cardiovascular exercises, such as running or cycling, with strength-training exercises, which can include weight training or body-weight exercises. Running for at least three 30-minute sessions and doing two 30-minute sessions of strength-training exercises per week would be very much sufficient to meet the minimum physical activity guidelines. So, this way physical activity will help you to overcome sedentary lifestyle.

Take regular breaks

One cannot work for 8-10 hours continuously without any short break in the middle. So, taking regular breaks is a good practice to refresh your mind now and then. Once in every while, you take a short break to get off your chairs. Try to go for a walk or make a cup of coffee, or just stand up and stretch your limbs a little. Taking short breaks will also help you to combat any spell of boredom at work and help you become more productive. So, taking breaks at regular intervals will help your health and allows you to perform better.

Stand while Working

One of the main reasons of back pain and bad posture is sitting for long periods at work. Always try to work while standing for 5 to 10 minutes every hour. This will help you to avoid being too sedentary. If you are an employer, you can ask to provide taller desks at your office where your employees can work while standing. Standing desks will promote good posture and they will also eliminate health risks associated with sitting.

Develop Active Hobbies

It is very important to develop an active hobby to overcome sedentary lifestyle. You need to develop a hobby like running, playing a sport, gardening and so on to keep yourself active.  In 2014, a study said that even if you are going slow (less than 6 miles per hour), 5-10 minute run each day will help you with significantly reducing the risk for death from all causes, but specifically from cardiovascular disease. Playing a sport like football, cricket or badminton for 30 minutes a day will help you to be active. This way having an active hobby will help you to overcome sedentary lifestyle.

Consume less food and drink more water

Calories are attained for free. The more food you consume, the more calories you intake. So, sitting will not help you in burning any calories. Then, you will be stuck with them all your life. Thus the simple step to be followed is eating less and drinking more water. Consuming to much food will lead to many health problems. If you want to eat, eat but in fewer amounts. Especially if you are a foodie, it is very difficult to control cravings but this is possible. 

Take the stairs

The first thing we look for when we enter more than two-storeyed buildings is the elevator. We are so used to taking lifts even to the first, second floor that. People feel lazy to take stairs and using stairs do not come to mind. They consider it a waste of time because people are always in a rush. So, if your office building is a multi-storeyed one and has elevators, take stairs instead of the elevator. Climbing stairs uses up a lot of energy and burns many calories. In fact, climbing stairs burns more calories per minute than jogging. Moreover, taking the stairs counts as physical activity on its own and it will help you become less sedentary.

Fitness tracker

A pedometer is a great way to track your steps; it helps you gauge your activity throughout the day. Knowing how active you really are can alert you to patterns or habits that lean toward an overly sedentary lifestyle. You can take action to combat the effects of sitting too much by finding opportunities to move more. So, having a fitness tracker will help you to know how active you are in the day.


Many Researchers found that sedentary lifestyle leads to severe health conditions. Almost 80% of people do not meet the minimum physical activity guidelines and are at very high risk of developing health issues from spending too much time being sedentary. People can reduce the risks of a sedentary lifestyle by increasing the amount of physical activity that they do and by using the tips mentioned above to reduce the time they spend being sedentary.

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