- How a sedentary lifestyle impacts your mind and body
- How Yoga can help you out
- Points to keep in mind as you take up yoga
The constraints on a healthy lifestyle today are many – there is the temptation of ordered-in, processed food, the desire to spend free time in front of screens instead of exercising, environmental factors that are often out of our control, such as pollution, and of course, our desk jobs. But really how much of a toll do these factors take on our body? You may be surprised.
Sedentary Lifestyle – What Does It Mean and What Does It Do?
Sedentary refers to being seated or still, and as the name suggests, this lifestyle is characterized by little or no physical activity. Consequently, the person is usually sitting and fails to meet the minimum level of activity recommended by experts (which tends to be about 150 minutes of moderate activity for an adult). This lack of activity can have broad-ranging negative impacts on the body, including –
- Lack of movement can significantly increase your chances of becoming obese, which in turn can lead to a number of health problems ranging from cardiovascular diseases to joint aches.
- A sedentary lifestyle can increase all causes of mortality, according to data compiled by the World Health Organization
- Sitting around all day can contribute immensely to everyday discomforts, such as back and neck pain. These can then become the grounds for more serious and chronic problems later in life.
- Lack of physical activity also puts people at increased risk for mental health problems such as anxiety and depression. Physical activity has a profound impact on our mood, and depriving the body of physical stimulation may also mean depriving our brain of mental stimulation.
But perhaps the single most negative impact that a sedentary lifestyle has on us is the fact that it is a lifestyle. It is natural to want to take a break every now and then and sit on the couch surfing TV shows. This only becomes a problem when it becomes our everyday routine, and when it is backed by other problematic behaviors such as poor diet, consumption of tobacco and alcohol, and high-stress environments, the situation can become even worse. In such a scenario, becoming sick becomes a matter of when rather than if.
Yoga to Combat Sedentary Lifestyle
Yoga is an ancient Indian practice of the mind and body that uses postures, breathing exercises and meditation to create good health and wellness. It can be a life-saving (literally!) practice for those who are entrenched in a sedentary lifestyle for a number of reasons.
Firstly, it is a practice that takes into account the fact that people have varied levels of fitness, and provides something for everybody. And while western exercises do give you a good endorphin boost, yoga helps in honing the mind and stimulating peace, harmony, concentration, memory, and relaxation. Known to be effective in managing and preventing the symptoms of a number of chronic problems ranging from high blood pressure to hypothyroidism, yoga can become the all-natural, all-round tool that you need to combat the problems of your sedentary lifestyle.
Do It Right – How to Integrate Yoga Into Your Daily Life –
Simply deciding to take up yoga does not mean that you are ready to do all those amazing poses you see online. Yoga is a discipline which takes a little bit of time and effort. Fortunately, the process of getting there is what makes you healthier. Here are some important pointers to keep in mind when you begin your journey –
- Start Slow – You do not want your body to be doing anything that it is not ready for, as yanking your limbs out of shape or forcing your back into an inversion is much more likely to lead to an injury rather than good health. Start with basic asanas such as those that make up the Surya Namaskar (sun salutation), and be sure to modify as and when necessary. In yoga, the perfect posture is of the essence to truly create health benefits, so take your time
- Adapt – You may not be able to take the time out daily to practice yoga – after all, work is one of the primary reasons why people today have a sedentary lifestyle. But that doesn’t mean that you cannot do yoga on the go. Take a ten minute break at your desk itself and stretch out your back and neck. Use the time you are commuting to practice some breathing exercises or meditation. By integrating these small breaks into your daily life, you can commit to a healthier life.
- Join A Class – One of the best ways to ensure that you regularly undertake yoga, and in a manner that is suited to your needs and goals, is to join a yoga class. Yoga classes provide expert teachers, a conducive environment, company, tailored routines and fun activities such as yoga retreats. Joining a class also helps you to develop a new routine, one where you carve out time especially for your health and well being, which can help in sparking other good habits as well.
- Don’t Just Keep An Eye on the Scale – Weight loss and muscle toning are two very important goals for fitness, and they help in boosting your confidence and self-esteem by miles. But it is also important to remember that weight loss is not all there is to fitness – a perfectly slim person may have a myriad of health problems. The best part about yoga is that aside from calorie-burn, it also improves strength and flexibility, and it is these improvements that lay the groundwork of a better and more productive, pain/discomfort free everyday life.
- Go Holistic – The best way to change the sedentary lifestyle is to completely unroot and overhaul it. While this can be quite challenging, it is one of the best ways to ensure good health in the long run. One way in which you can do this is by approaching yoga as a holistic practice. It can be tempting and time-saving to just focus on exercising, but when you take the time out to practice meditation, contemplate spirituality, and learn the philosophical roots of the discipline, you open yourself up to exploration and change, which can become the positive and solid basis of changing your life.
So make the changes in your life today by taking up yoga. Get up and get moving, not only for a healthier you today, but for the future you as well.