Being physically active on a regular basis is the key to good mental and physical health. Finding ways to be more active throughout your day would help mitigate a lot of the damage caused by sedentary jobs (and living), even if these ways seem fairly low intensity to you. What matters most is the general trend of your day.
There are a number of things you could do. Try a couple (or all) of the following examples of good physical activities – walk during your lunch hour; get up to talk to a colleague on another floor, instead of using email/phone; take the stairs instead of a lift; take an evening stroll after dinner and park as far away from your car as possible when out shopping.
If it helps you stick to regular physical movement, keep in mind the benefits afforded you by being active:
- a reduction in the effects of aging
- improved circulation
- better control of body weight
- decreased fatigue and improved performance in daily activities
- better management of stress
- improvement of body awareness
- enhanced sense of well-being
- improved immune system function
- decreased risk of lifestyle diseases
In addition, attempt to consistently practice some type of energy-cultivating activity (such as Tai Chi, Chi Gong, meditation and Yoga). It’s unfortunate that in the Western world these activities tend to be perceived as being too slow or boring, as well as ineffectual as a ‘workout’. When you like at how much energy we spend through our day – trying to cram in hundreds of tasks, as well as giving what you feel you need to, to your family – it’s not hard to see why we’re unbalanced energetically and highly stressed as a society.
Some people argue that they counter their sedentary day by going to gym regularly. However, being inactive 23 hours of the day and then exercising madly for one hour doesn’t really cut it, since once again, it’s the trend that matters. In fact some studies have shown that those who do go regularly to gym have a tendency to be more sedentary outside of that gym time.
In addition many of us in this modern-day world are also experiencing adrenal fatigue in some way. Negative stress impacts significantly on your adrenal glands. These little glands are responsible for producing all stress hormones and tend to be worked pretty hard through your day, so need good recovery time. If this doesn’t happen, it can result in adrenal fatigue, where the adrenals become so tired they can’t produce enough of the necessary hormones to keep you in good health. If this situation continues, adrenal failure can occur with disastrous consequences for long-term health.
Some of the symptoms of adrenal stress are:
- Diminished work capacity
- Muscle weakness
- Mental lethargy or sluggishness
- Loss of energy, strength or endurance
- Complaints of tiredness (not related to lack of sleep)
- Inability to concentrate or maintain attention (not related to lack of sleep)
If you think you’re adrenally-stressed, doing an end-of-day hard-core gym session is the very worst thing you can do to yourself as it simply exacerbates an already stressed system. Rather, aim for the energy-cultivating activities listed previously.
Going back to physical activity, try and avoid using a T.V. for entertainment every night as this can drag you into an inactive state for hours on end and does absolutely nothing for your physical, emotional or spiritual development.
Above all, try and build physical activity into your day every few hours and get into the habit of walking places instead of driving. Take up gardening, or offer to walk a someone’s dog … you’ll make two friends for life!