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Have you ever considered how much activity you do in a day? You might be surprised by how little that is. Here are the facts: according to the American Heart Association, sedentary jobs have increased by over 80% since the 1950s. Worse yet, a survey by the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) revealed that a quarter of all Americans–that means one in every four–are physically inactive. That means 25% of us don’t do ANY physical activity outside of work!
Doctors and health experts always recommend that people live an active lifestyle. However, some people get confused. Does that mean working out like a bodybuilder? Is it the same lifestyle as a fitness guru? Thankfully, having an active lifestyle doesn’t mean you have to work out thousands of reps a day.
Simply put, an active lifestyle is all about moderate exercise. As long as you’re expending energy, you’re doing some type of activity. Remember, humans did not evolve by sitting down all day. From playing sports to walking around the park, an active lifestyle is about using your energy.
Keep in mind that having an active lifestyle is about movement. Reading a book or taking a nap can be productive, but they aren’t pushing your body. To be physically healthy, the World Health Organization (WHO) recommends a minimum of 150 minutes of moderate activity per week. That’s about 22 minutes a day, and that’s only scratching the surface!
Having an active lifestyle is good, but what exactly does it do? Surely, pumping iron like Dwayne Johnson is the only way to stay in shape, right? Well, living an active lifestyle does a lot more to your body than you think. It can even improve your life better than a weekend at the gym. Here’s how an active lifestyle benefits you and your health!
Staying active is a great way to maintain your fitness and weight. Think about it: 25% of Americans don’t move much outside of work. If you work 8 hours a day, that leaves plenty of time to do something! So before you complain that there’s not enough time for an active lifestyle, take a hard look at your daily schedule. You have lots of time to spare. You don’t even need a full hour to make the most of it!
For example, walking for five minutes every hour can improve your overall fitness. If you add that to your work routine–let’s say eight hours–, you’ve already spent 40 minutes walking in a day! That gives your joints and muscles movement to stay in shape. Remember, an active lifestyle doesn’t just burn calories; it also keeps your body conditioned.
Being healthy and active is great for your weight, but it’s also a benefit to your health. An active lifestyle keeps your body parts functioning at their best. Think about this: studies on having an active lifestyle show that it reduces the risk of serious diseases. Things like cancer, diabetes, and heart problems are less likely to occur!
Two reasons why these happen are cholesterol and visceral fats. Both are connected to weight problems and cause lots of harm to your body. Poor cholesterol can lead to severe cardiovascular diseases. Visceral fats, aside from adding weight, can also increase the risk of infection. If you ever need a reason to have an active lifestyle, then listen to your body!
Beyond fitness and health, an active lifestyle promotes one more thing: happiness. A study in the UK about domestic activity, especially during the pandemic, revealed that those who sat for over 8 hours a day had adverse mental health effects. Even though the respondents did the minimum amount of exercise recommended, they still felt its impact.
In other words, an active lifestyle could be the key to boosting your mood. It’s not just about moving; it’s about keeping your mind active alongside your body. Research on the brain has shown that exercise causes endorphins to be released. Endorphins are the happy hormones that help you feel better, especially after a good workout. If you want to improve your mood, try to build an active lifestyle!
Now that you know why an active lifestyle is beneficial, it’s time to make it a reality. Having an active lifestyle doesn’t need to be an elaborate workout plan or routine. There are subtle, simple habits you can do that will change your life. Here are seven ways you can build an active lifestyle!
Remember Newton’s First Law of Motion, “A body in motion stays in motion, while a body at rest stays at rest”. If you want your body to be healthy and active, even as you grow older, it’s time to get moving! Start the day right by doing some activity. You can get off the bed and stretch your body or take a short stroll around the block. Even if it only lasts a couple of minutes, you set the tone for an active lifestyle.
Did you know that the average American walks up to 4000 steps a day? While this sounds good, you can definitely bring in a lot more to stay active. You don’t necessarily have to reach 10,000 steps, as popular belief states. That said, it is important to be more mobile for an active lifestyle.
To help you achieve this, focus on taking a few minutes every hour to get moving. Walking around is a great start, but there are other ways to maintain an active lifestyle. For example, you can do a short dance while listening to music. You can do some light stretches during lunch. The key is to stay mobile, even if you’re on break. A few minutes can do a lot in an active lifestyle!
Studies show that only 3.1% of Americans travel to work by walking or biking. Perhaps it’s because of how prevalent cars and public transportation have become. That said, you’d be surprised how powerful a walk to the office can be. Having an active lifestyle might sound tiring, but these things can be more fun than being stuck in traffic! Plus, if you need to get groceries and it’s just around the corner, don’t waste your time or fuel; use your feet and feel complete instead!
What’s the go-to method for rest? For many people, it’s always a screen of some sort. Whether it’s a TV or a mobile phone, people like to switch their devices on and relax. However, screen time isn’t the only way to rest. In fact, you can do so much more than sit around and watch YouTube.
You can have an active lifestyle by making rest time productive! Try doing chores during your free time or days off. You can play music in the background or leave the TV on if the sound helps. However, don’t make it a reason to sit down and ignore your tasks. To build an active lifestyle, you have to get moving!
If you want to do more than walk and stretch, exercise classes and programs are a great place to start. Having an active lifestyle can push your fitness goals to new heights. That said, it’s easier to enjoy if you sign up for workouts that you want to try. So, make it a daily habit to explore fitness classes in your local area. Whether it’s yoga or hiking, these activities can open up your world and give your body a much-needed boost.
While routine is essential to building an active lifestyle, you might get bored if it goes too long. The secret to an active lifestyle is consistency, but that doesn’t mean running the same path every day. If you want to stay mobile, look for things that can change the pace. For example, you can sign up for a special marathon or explore a new museum. Activities like these keep you moving and allow you to see something new!
Sedentary lifestyles always happen in one place: indoors. You’ll never find someone reclining in their chair out in the park, right? All kidding aside, being indoors for long periods of time can be exhausting. To make an active lifestyle, you need to find the right atmosphere. The best place to start is right outside your door. With all the natural beauty and the sunlight, you’d be surprised how fun a day out of your house can be!
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