Over the past two years of working at a desk job, my lifestyle has been the most sedentary it has ever been. If I don’t intentionally exercise, my main physical activity would be walking to or from a parking lot. Outside of that, I would spend most of my day sitting or standing.
Why is this relevant?
Unless your job requires physical activity, your lifestyle is probably similar to mine. It’s innately sedentary. And with all the technological advances and automation of physical tasks, this is unavoidably becoming more common.
As a result, sedentariness is very much built into the fabric of most of our days.
But it was never meant to be like this. As humans, we were never meant to sit around for over half of our day. However, most of us do.
Why is it important to counteract an innately sedentary life?
Clearly, if most of your physical activity is walking to and from a parking lot, something has to be done to prevent your health from going down the drain.
For me, just within a year of a more sedentary work life, I started noticing health issues I never had before. So, to maintain my health, I try to go to the gym at least five days a week. However, my normal day is so sedentary that it’s a constant battle to offset the constant sitting/standing. The balance is so skewed. So much so that if I don’t work out for a week, it shows. I experience poorer circulation, swollen feet, and a noticeably lower endurance when I do work out again.
Over the years, there have been more studies on the negative effects of prolonged sitting and inactivity. In fact, some studies have found that it increases the risk of dying from heart disease and decreases a person’s overall life expectancy (1).
Therefore, offsetting a sedentary lifestyle might be challenging, but it’s extremely important. Keep in mind, the more sedentary life is at work, the more intentionally physical you have to be on a consistent basis outside of work. Add an unhealthy diet to the equation and the need for regular physical activity increases even more.
So, do you need to intentionally add physical activity into your life? Considering the impact sedentariness has on a person’s health, it’s a question we should all be asking ourselves, especially in this day and age.