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Everyone understands the dangers of smoking and everyone understands the importance of being active. What people may not know is that physical inactivity at work may be just as deadly as taking a smoke break. This has many people questioning their sedentary ways. After all, while many know that activity is good for you, they may not know that not being active could actually kill them. How is this possible and how can physical inactivity and the lack of movement at work be as deadly as a casual cigarette with your co-workers?
Physical Inactivity is a Pandemic
Researchers have pointed out that deaths due to inactivity have reached such a high point that it really should be considered as such. With 5.3 million deaths resulting from inactivity each year, it’s easy to see that there is a serious problem. It is estimated that in some areas, as many as 2/3 of the population aren’t getting enough exercise throughout the day. But, how does that lead to death? Because physical activity and health go hand in hand.
Effects of Inactivity on the Body
There are a number of consequences of inactivity. First of all, not being active can make you overweight and obesity can lead to a number of health conditions that can kill, including heart disease, diabetes, and colon cancer. Even those that remain thin can experience health problems by not being active. When you’re not working the muscles in your body, you risk losing them. The most important muscle you want to be working is the heart. When the heart is not exposed to activity, it can become weak and you may be more prone to a heart attack when intense activity is required.
How to Get More Active at Work
It is recommended that people get 150 minutes of exercise per week. The problem is that many people don’t. Whether it’s because they work too much or don’t have enough money to join a gym. What people don’t realize is that getting activity is easier that you think. People don’t have to visit a gym or even leave their home or office to be active. Exercise can be done in the home by dancing, lifting weights, walking in place, or even playing interactive video games.
Get to Work on a Treadmill Desk
One way to increase your daily activity is to use a treadmill desk. It sounds a bit silly but as standing desk are gaining traction across the country for their health benefits, treadmill desks takes it one step further (no pun intended). They allow you to get a workout while you work. Even late night talk show hosts are picking up on the craze. Watch this 5 minute video from The Late Late Show with James Corden where he puts a treadmill desk to the test (and read more about them in our treadmill desk reviews to find which we recommend).
Fitness Track Your Way to Success
Another way to exercise at work is to take advantage of nearby parks, trails and a corporate gym if you have one. Try parking further away from the door and/or taking the stairs instead of the elevator. All these little ways to get in your activity will add up and improve your overall health. A great way to track how much activity you’re getting throughout the day is by using an activity monitor and more and more companies are offering incentives, including savings on health insurance in some cases, that make tracking your fitness even more exciting!
Smoking vs. Physical Activity and Health
It’s easy to see that being physically inactive can be just as deadly as smoking, but researchers point out that smoking is still much more dangerous. While inactivity and smoking may both kill around the same number of people, fewer people smoke than the amount of people who are inactive. In other words, there are a higher percentage of smokers dying due to their habit than the percentage of inactive people. Thankfully, you don’t have to become a victim of either. You have the choice to be active, just like you have the choice to not smoke. All it takes is getting 150 minutes of exercise per week. Whether you’re lifting weights at home or visiting the local gym, you can be active.
Quit Smoking and Start Exercising
If you are a smoker who feels that they are also inactive, you might be able to use one method to solve both problems. The next time you want a cigarette out of feelings of anxiety, consider doing any number of things instead. Go for a walk. Snack on small fruits like grapes or berries that feed the hand to mouth inclination, but promote the motivation to move around. Keep a stress ball or some other item nearby that you can fidget with. Do a brief household chore that requires movement.
To change your life you have to change your habits. To change your habits, you have to change your thinking. If you want to live longer, you are going to have to take an active role in your life instead of a passive role in your death.
What steps are you taking to get more active – at home and at work?