We’re all living far more sedentary lives that we were 50 years ago. Some researchers even predict that sitting down for too long can be just as deadly as things like smoking. Most manual labour has been replaced by office work, so we’re spending upwards of eight hours a day sitting down. Factor in your commute, which could be up to one hour a day, and you’re already spending nine of your waking hours sitting down. When you get home from work, you’re probably tired from your commute, so you reward yourself with a few hours of TV, adding another two hours to your sedentary time.
Does this sound like a typical day for you? If you’re a resident couch potato looking for some extra motivation to get off the couch and get moving, ponder on these ten facts about health and fitness. It might just be enough to get you up and moving around.
1. Reduce blood pressure
Hypotension is one of the leading causes of heart disease. And a high fat diet is one of the leading causes of hypotension. If you want to keep your heart strong and healthy well into old age, you need to get moving while you’re young. Give your heart a workout every day if you want to keep fit.
2. Lower risk of diabetes
The increase in type 2 diabetes is considered to be a public health crisis. An increase in poor quality but cheap food has fuelled our appetites and many of us are consuming far more calories than we need. By getting off the couch and moving around more, you can improve your body’s ability to metabolise glucose and reduce your risk of getting type 2 diabetes.
3. Boost your immune system
Studies have shown that people who don’t exercise are more likely to get sick. If you want to get through the cold and flu season without getting the sniffles, regular exercise can help to boost your immunity.
4. Reduce body fat
Regular exercise is one of the best ways you can reduce your BMI. Your body mass index gives you a good indication if you are within a healthy weight range. If not, then getting off the couch and moving around more could be hugely beneficial.
5. Build strong bones
Good diet and exercise are both essential for maintaining strong bones. Resistance training such as boxing workouts are one of the best ways to maintain bone health. Try building up to one hour per week of strength and resistance training to see real results.
6. Increase muscle mass
One of the biggest perks of increasing muscle mass is that muscle burns more calories. We lose muscle mass at about 1% per year as we age if we don’t do anything to maintain it. By exercising your muscles, you can prevent and reverse this.
7. Improve sex life
People who exercise more enjoy a better sex life. This is because of their increase cardiovascular health which promotes better circulation. You’re also far less likely to be lethargic at the end of the day, so you’ll probably have more energy for sex that your sedentary counterparts.
8. Better quality sleep
When you make time for regular exercise, you’ll be more energetic during the day. And at the end of the day, you’ll find it easier to fall asleep and you’ll enjoy more quality sleep. Try to avoid exercising right before bed, and instead opt for an early morning workout before work.
9. Mood booster
We all know about the famous “runner’s high”. If you struggle with anxiety or depression, regular exercise can help to give your day structure and boost your mood. Aerobic exercise causes the body to release endorphins which are a feel-good chemical. You need to exert yourself for around 20-30 minutes and then you should get a rush of endorphins around 20 minutes after you’ve stopped exercising.
10. Lowers dementia risk
Exercising can also help to protect your brain in the long term. By increasing blood flow to the brain, you can keep the neurons in your brain healthy. Some forms of dementia have been linked to heart disease, so keeping your heart in good health is one of the best ways to lower your risk.