Am I stable without knowing it?
Nowadays, most of our daily activities are facilitated by new processes or sometimes even replaced by new technologies. All this allows us to save time and energy...but at what cost? Sure, it's nice to be able to start your washing machine during your favorite TV show, but how will that affect your health? In the past, washing clothes by hand made us spend approximately 2.07 kcal/min, twice as much energy
as a washing machine (1.32 kcal/min). And what about elevators? Climbing stairs represents an energy expenditure approximately four times greater per minute than climbing with an elevator (Lanningham‐Foster et al, 2003). The data clearly shows this; Almost a third of the population is now considered stable (Institut de la statistique du Québec, 2014-2015)! So it will be important to understand what a sedentary lifestyle is and the risks associated with it. Next, we will see that there are several ways to reduce this behavior.
What is a sedentary lifestyle?
To fully understand the effects on our health, it is necessary to know how to differentiate between the concepts of a sedentary lifestyle, physical activity, and physical exercise. First of all, a sedentary lifestyle is simply defined as the absence of movement or physical activity. For example, a student who attends a three-hour class theory course, will, by default, be sedentary. On the other hand, physical activity is defined as any bodily movement produced by skeletal muscles that generates energy
expenditure. Physical exercise, a subcategory of physical activity, represents structured, repetitive behavior with the goal of improving or maintaining physical fitness (Gauvin, 2004). Moreover, if we take the example of a student who has a sedentary behavior in class, 150 minutes of moderate physical activity per week. It is nearly impossible to eliminate all of our sedentary behaviors, and the key is to
simply reduce them. Moreover, only 41% of the population aged 15 years and over reach the recommended upper level of physical activity, i.e. 300 minutes of moderate intensity activity or 150 minutes of high intensity activity (Institut de la statistique du Québec , 2014-2015). This means that about 6 out of 10 people are not moving enough and not reaching the top recommendations for physical activity!
The dangers of a sedentary lifestyle
Inactive behavior can lead to significant health consequences. First, insufficient immobility is associated with many chronic diseases such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease, metabolic syndrome, type 2 diabetes and even some cancers (Stamatakis et al, 2019). By adjusting your lifestyle and reducing the amount of inactivity in your daily life, you can help reduce your risk of death. In fact, the
simple fact of moving about every hour of sedentary work, for example, would reduce the risk of cardiovascular mortality by 21%. According to other sources, physical activity will also increase life expectancy by reducing the risk of premature death by about 20% through doing 90 minutes of physical activity per week.
How to reduce a sedentary lifestyle
There are several ways to successfully reduce and reduce idle time. First, start by identifying the idle moments in your daily life and assessing whether these are moments that can be changed. In other words, for example, at work, is it possible to add a few minutes of active breaks during an office task? Most people hesitate for fear of breaking their momentum and drive for creativity and productivity... Think again, the beneficial effects of active breaks are numerous, ranging from better focus, improved
memory, and better problem-solving skills, to reduced stress and muscle tension. About 5 to 10 minutes of activity per hour will be enough to give you all of these benefits. For example, get up for a short walk, get yourself a bottle of water, do some quick stretching exercises, and take a few minutes off the task you are focusing on. At first it will be difficult to interrupt your task, but your body needs it.
Changing the position will allow for better trading. Try to set yourself a goal, such as 5 minutes every hour for three days a week, and set yourself an alarm to help you achieve your goal. The goal is simply not to stay still for more than 30 minutes and you'll see results quickly (AKKOMQ, 2018)!
Finally, changing lifestyle habits is quite a challenge, especially when our routine is well established in our daily lives, to help you initiate this change, the previous article on strategies for building a healthy lifestyle habit may be helpful for you. good luck !