It can be hard to make exercise a priority in your daily life, even though you already know you should do so. Many of us have sedentary jobs, where we sit down all day and stare at a computer. Or, if we have jobs that require us to stand on our feet all day, often the only thing we want to do after work is to sit down and rest.
Most of our hobbies also tend to be fairly sedentary. We’re more likely to watch TV or stare at our phones than to join a sporting club, for example. But spending so much time sitting down is actually the worst thing possible for our health — especially our mental health. The providers at 2nd Chance Treatment Center explain more about the effects of physical activity on our mental health.
What is a sedentary lifestyle?
You may hear this term a lot, but may not be entirely sure what it means. In short, it means that you don’t naturally get much physical activity in your daily life.
Most of us drive or ride in cars to get to work. It’s not uncommon to have especially long commutes of a half-hour (at minimum) up to an hour or two. If we work a desk job, that’s eight hours or more of sitting down.
No matter what type of job you have, chances are that your leisure activities at home are also performed sitting down, such as watching TV or reading.
The effects of a sedentary lifestyle
If you don’t get much (or any) exercise, you’ll likely suffer from a variety of health problems, both physical and mental.
Some of the physical effects of a sedentary lifestyle include the following:
- Type 2 diabetes
- Heart disease (including an increased risk of heart attack and stroke)
- Early death
When you spend most of your time sitting down, it reduces your metabolism and changes your body’s ability to regulate blood sugar, control your blood pressure, and break down fat.
As if these things weren’t bad enough on their own, being inactive puts an equally great strain on your mental health, too. Getting regular exercise has huge benefits for your mental health. Some studies have even compared the benefits of exercise to be almost as effective for your mental health as many antidepressants.
Regular exercise can help the following mental health conditions:
- Lack of motivation to engage in social activities
When you combine a lack of exercise with a mental health condition and then add in poor sleep, especially for a prolonged period of time, you may even find yourself thinking about suicide. Clearly, making an effort to be more active has many significant benefits.
How much exercise you need
We’re certainly not suggesting that you start running marathons (unless you want to do so). Getting exercise can start with small efforts, like parking a little further away from a store entrance or taking a brief walk around your office.
Ideally, you should aim to get at least 30 minutes of exercise five days a week,
If you’re struggling with your mental health, you’ll likely begin to feel better just by getting more exercise. But you shouldn’t stop there, either. Call the providers at 2nd Chance Treatment Center to focus on improving your mental health, or request an appointment online.