Do you want to stay a couch potato? Get fit – this is how it works! Read all about the dangers of your passive lifestyle here!
Do you consider yourself as a couch potato – one who sits for long hours doing nothing or just watching your favorite shows? Then maybe it is time to change this habit. Take note that this excessively lazy habit may encourage obesity. The reason is that it stops you from having any physical activity. It can also encourage mindless eating.
Apart from that, it can negatively hamper your health. Motivate yourself and others to an active lifestyle, to lose weight and to more fitness. Here are just some dangerous effects of being a couch potato on your health:
Causes heart disease
Sitting idle for a prolonged period may cause your muscles to burn less fat than normal. It may also cause your blood to flow sluggishly. This will ultimately lead to the clogging of fatty acids in your heart. Also, prolonged sitting may lead to high cholesterol levels and blood pressure. All these can make you more prone to dealing with cardiovascular or heart diseases compared to active people.
Increases risk of colon cancer
Leading an inactive lifestyle can also increase your risk of developing colon cancer. It could be because of the buildup of sugar and the constant increase in your insulin level. This can significantly damage your colon, eventually developing cancer.
Damages your brain
If you move a lot, then expect your body to have the ability to supply blood and fresh oxygen to your brain. This can result in the constant release of endorphins, like serotonin and dopamine – both of which can stimulate your happiness and pleasure centers.
The opposite may happen if you are a couch potato who lacks physical activities. It can cause your muscles to be idle and inactive, slowing down bodily functions that can also damage your brain. It can also cause insufficient production of endorphins, further leading to anxiety and depression.
Damages your muscles
Another thing that being a couch potato can do to your health is muscle damage. For one, it can cause your glutes to become limp. Note that sitting idly for a long time can slow down your glutes’ proper functioning. It can eventually hamper your stability and your ability to maintain a powerful stride.
Slumping on a chair and staying that way for a long period may also cause your wimpy abdominal muscles and the tight muscles in your back to wreck your posture. It can hamper the natural arch posture of your spine, which can eventually result in lower back pain.
Moreover, being a couch potato means that you also rarely extend your hip flexors. This is a bad thing as it may cause such muscles to become short and tight, ultimately restricting your mobility or range of motion.
Causes poor blood circulation in the legs
You may also suffer from a leg disorder caused by the poor circulation of blood in the area. It is mainly due to the retention of fluid as you sit idly for a long time. If you experience this disorder, there is a high chance that you will experience problems like varicose veins, swollen ankles, and worse, deep vein thrombosis or harmful blood clots in the area.
Mentioned are just a few of the negative effects of being a couch potato on your health. The fact that being inactive is detrimental to your health should be enough reason for you to start moving right now and live an active and healthy lifestyle.
How to get yourself from that couch?
Undeniably, we are now living in an era wherein a sedentary lifestyle has become prominent. With that said, expect to witness both kids and adults alike spending long hours glued to the couch. Note, though, that this is a bad habit that you have to change. If you don’t, then you will only be putting your health at risk. Start moving and encourage someone whom you also consider as a couch potato to get up from the couch using these tips:
Infuse fun into physical activities
If you have a loved one who is not fond of doing exercises and would prefer lying in bed or on your couch, then make him/her realize that there are actually several fun and exciting physical activities. Compromise with your loved one so you can encourage them to get off the couch.
Ask about the specific workouts or activities that they find enjoyable. Ensure that you are also willing to go out of your comfort zone when exercising – that is if doing that is necessary. If you ask, they may tell you that they love spin classes, swimming, or inline skating. Do any of those activities with them so they can start integrating physical activities into their routines.
Focus on slow yet steady exercises at first
When introducing physical activities to someone classified as a couch potato, you should avoid rushing the process. It would be best to take the entire process easy at first. For instance, if you are inviting your spouse for physical activity, then you may want to seek the participation of your children.
Involve them in a game of soccer on your lawn, perhaps. You may also hike together to a picnic spot that everyone loves. Avoid rushing things as making them do too much on just short notice may only damage their enthusiasm to exercise.
Look for age-appropriate activities
This tip is intended for parents who have kids. You need to look for activities that are appropriate for the age/s of your kid/kids. It is crucial to pick a physical activity that suits the age of your child and his/her level of development or capacity. The best activity for the young ones is actually active play. Once they get older, expect them to enjoy organized sports even better.
Move as a family
Make it a point to involve the whole family in the activity. Everyone should be active together. You can do that by doing activities that you can perform as a group, like bowling, riding a bike, rock climbing, and biking. For parents with kids, letting them choose the activity that everyone should do is much better. It can also help a lot if you give them permission to invite their friends, too.
Motivate by example
Probably the best tip when it comes to encouraging someone to move and stop being a couch potato is to show that you are also doing it. Make it a point to exercise regularly. It also helps to take part in a sports team or attend a Zumba class. Just show the one you are trying to motivate that exercise and movement are good things. Set an example and everyone around you will also be interested to move.
Be supportive and encouraging
If your loved one starts exerting effort to take part in certain fitness activities, make sure to encourage them. Do it in a non-patronizing and supportive manner. Cheer them on and they will most likely continue with the routine.
Also, avoid pushing too hard. Show how supportive you are by letting them begin at a certain pace that is suitable for them then build up the routine from there. Avoid being too judgmental, too. Never comment negatively about their performance and looks as doing so may immediately halt their efforts towards becoming active.
How do you best understand the importance of fitness?
Almost everyone knows that being a couch potato is bad for one’s health. The problem is that not everyone is capable of resisting the temptation to just lay down on the couch for hours on end, binge-watching their favorite shows. If you are one of those with unexplainable lethargy and do not seem to have the energy to do anything, except for lying down on the couch, then you have couch potato syndrome. It’s time to end this habit and focus on your fitness.
If the couch potato syndrome affects someone close to you, then you can also make them understand how important fitness and exercise is through the following:
Explain how important it is to control your weight
Prolonged sitting without any physical activity can only cause you to add unnecessary pounds to your current weight that can also affect your health. Convince someone that it is crucial to exercise and focus on fitness as it is the key to controlling and managing weight.
Through exercise, you can burn calories and shed pounds. You can also inform a loved one that while burning more calories is possible through rigorous exercises, even simple ones, like brisk walking, can already work wonders when trying to lose weight. The key is consistency.
Let them know that there are creative ways to exercise
You may have a difficult time convincing and motivating someone to get off the couch and make them understand the importance of fitness if they find exercise boring, time-consuming, and grueling. What you should do, instead, is to make them realize that it is possible to integrate fun into seemingly boring physical activities.
For instance, it helps to incorporate physical activities into normal daily routines. You may encourage them to take a walk along with their dog. Instead of just sitting on the couch watching TV, you can also tell them that they can do some sit-ups while doing so. They can also just take the stairs, instead of the elevators, when visiting shops or going to work.
To persuade someone who neglects the importance of fitness to begin exercising, you may want to educate them about the possible consequences of not doing it. Give them articles and books that they can read about the risks that obesity and sedentary lifestyles have on their health.
If you are living in the same house, it helps to remind them about such consequences by putting the articles and books within easy visibility. For example, attach some health articles on your fridge to remind everyone in the household about how important it is to exercise regularly.
Let them start small
To make someone understand how important fitness is, it would be beneficial to not force them to do extremely difficult physical activities right away. Let them begin small. If they can’t go to the gym or they feel extremely lethargic to get off the couch or the house, do not rush the process. You can just tell them that when watching TV, they can use commercial breaks to do some activities, like bicycle crunches, jumping jacks, push-ups, and lunges.
Another thing that you can do to get them engaged in activity is to encourage them to take even just a 10-minute walk outdoors after every hour spent on the screen. You may also encourage them to move up and down the stairs for a specific number of times once Netflix asks them if they wish to continue watching the show. Let them begin small, so they will feel the benefits of increasing their endorphins.
The best way to make someone understand that it is important to stay fit and move is to let them realize the negative impacts of being a couch potato on their health. Make it a point to explain the positive rewards of regular physical activities, like a higher level of energy, increased life expectancy, and better quality of life, and you can surely persuade them to start prioritizing their health and fitness.