Thanks to the rapid rise of smartphones and mobile technology, it's never been easier to take care of the simple, day-to-day tasks that were once major headaches. We can decide what's for dinner and have it at our doorstep without having to lift much more than a finger. Likewise, we can use apps such as FaceTime and Snapchat to emulate face-to-face meeting that sometimes feel like a relic of the past. In the modern digital era, the name of the game is "convenience."
Unfortunately, these sorts of modern conveniences have made it easier than ever to fall into a sedentary lifestyle. While this may not seem like much of a concern, keep in mind the potential dangers of a sedentary lifestyle. The correlation between more time spent sitting and the risk of high blood pressure, heart disease and cancer represent a grim reminder of what might happen when we fall into the trap of inactivity.
Women are especially susceptible to falling into such a lifestyle, especially single mothers and those who are the primary breadwinners for their families. Between juggling the expectations of preparing healthy meals, spending quality time with our children and maintaining positive relationships with friends and family, where does one find the time to insert ample physical activity?
Thankfully, preventing sitting disease is possible, despite your past activity level. Whether you believe that you're at risk or simply know that you need to pursue a more active lifestyle, you can squeeze these simple steps into your daily routine. These quick fixes can help turn your health around without cutting too much into your "me-time."
Take a Walk
For many of us, exercise is rarely considered "fun." This is especially true if we've spent the whole day carpooling the kids or need to recover from rough day at the office. Despite popular belief, "exercise" doesn't have to equal sweating, panting and falling on our knees in exhaustion. In fact, the benefits of a simple walk include weight loss, improved mood and a decreased chance of the ailments associated with sitting disease.
Don't feel the need to bust out the sweatpants and sports-bra: a consistent walking routine of only fifteen to twenty minutes a day is enough to reap the rewards. Consider taking your partner, children or pets along for your walks in order to get your heart rate up and spend quality time with your family. There are also a number of online running and walking clubs for women out there if you don't want to go it alone. Simply check out your local running store, Facebook or use to Google to find the right group for you.
"Work" from Home
Although the convenience of technology may be behind the rapid rise in sitting disease, such technology also makes it easier than ever to work out from home. For example, there are many fitness routines and workout videos available for free on YouTube. Channels such as FitnessBlender and Blogilates each have over three million subscribers apiece and offer a number of comprehensive, full-body workouts (many of which are specifically for women).
These short and sweet workouts, many of which take about fifteen minutes to complete, offer a great alternative for women looking to forgo a gym membership. As an added bonus, most YouTube workouts can be performed without any equipment.
In addition, the ever-so-popular streaming services such as Netflix and Hulu offer similar workout videos if you don't want to stray too far from the couch.
Stand Up for Yourself
What about an option for those of us who dread traditional exercise? Fear not: what better way to combat sitting disease by simply standing?
- Investing in a standing desk if you spend a lot of time on your desktop or work from home
- Parking your car at the furthest spot while running errands, resulting in more steps between point A to point B
- Walking or pacing while spending time on your phone (who says you have to text sitting down?)
- Spend a portion of your lunch break walking, or perhaps walk to nearby landmarks you'd traditionally drive to
- Consider preparing and packing your lunch rather than eating out daily, resulting in more time hustling around the kitchen and store (and less time sitting in the car)
These changes may not seem like much; however, it's been proven that small changes can burn big calories. Remember, just about anything that gets your heart-rate up can combat sitting disease. Consider how you can change your daily routine to stay on your toes and prevent falling into unhealthy habits.