It’s with good reason that people refer to sitting as the new smoking. A sedentary lifestyle causes or contributes to a host of physical and mental health problems, including some of the most serious: cancer, cardiovascular disease, diabetes and depression, to name only a few. 

Americans as a group are quite sedentary, making it unsurprising that diseases such as the ones just mentioned are so prevalent. Sedentarism affects all age groups, too, from children to seniors, and everyone in between. 

The infographic below, Dangers of a Sedentary Lifestyle, should give inactive folks a healthy dose of reality. It outlines the major health issues associated with inactivity, and also offers several practical, easy-to-implement ways to become more active throughout the day, whether it’s at work, on vacation or at home. 

Courtesy of Premier Vein of Alaska

It will take a good deal of determination to start living more actively, considering how much time most of us spend behind the wheel, watching TV, working on computers and fiddling around on mobile phones. These are tough habits to break, but as the infographic reveals, the benefits of active living are huge — a healthier and longer life. 

So if you are ready to kick that habit and lead a healthier lifestyle you need a game plan! We have written one just for you!

The Health Belief Model

Did you know that a lot of people fail before they get started? This is due to the lack of faith that they can actually achieve their goal. The health belief model is a health psychological model that guides you through the process of removing barriers to healthy behaviour.

Just like many things in life we are motivated by pain rather than pleasure. Leading a sedentary lifestyle is comfortable and easy yet it does come with a price. It is that price that may motivate you to change your behaviour.

Perceived Susceptibility

Do you believe that you are susceptible to inheriting illness from your sedentary lifestyle?

Diseases A Sedentary Lifestyle Produces:

  • Diabetes
  • Back pain
  • Dimentia
  • Lung cancer
  • Depression

The above is just to name a few. Looking at the infographic or the information above do you believe that you may suffer from one of these in the future.

I personally know that when I sit more than usual my back becomes very angry and gives me issues.

Perceived Severity

While back pain can be uncomfortable if left unattended it can turn into a crippling pain, slipped discs, like sciatica. Then we move into quite severe illnesses of cancer and depression.

If you are very sedentary chances are you are suffering from depression. Having a sedentary lifestyle will only exacerbate your illness. Just another reason to get up and get moving.

Benefits and Barriers

The benefits of moving around and getting out and about are tremendous for your physical and psychological health. Being social gives you a sense of community by building relationships with others and increases your support system. At the same time, it decreases your chances of inheriting one of the more serious illnesses such as diabetes and cancer.

Self Belief

Once you have started to weigh the pros and cons it really does not matter if you don’t believe you can do it. Without self efficacy you will never get started.

A good way to erode the doubts is to start with a small goal. Perhaps its 10, 20, or 30 minutes of taking a stroll around the neighbourhood, dancing, or anything that gets you up and off that couch.

Break it down to small pieces so that you know you can easily achieve your goal. From there after you have had a few wins you can begin to raise the bar with self belief that you are able to achieve your goals.

Transtheoretical Model

Now that we have done the hard work of contemplation, increasing our self confidence and know the benefits of what moving your body can do, it’s time to move into the stage of preparation.

Preperation

You will never succeed if you don’t prepare before hand. I personally know if I do not write myself a fitness or flexibility program I will not get up at 6am and train.

Preparation sets you up for success.

Your plan to erode your sedentary lifestyle could be getting up and doing squats during the ad breaks or it could be walking the dog once a day. Make the plan and prepare what you will need in order to acheive success. If you plan to do yoga or pilates at home, get that online subscription or find a great class on youtube so when you get up the next day you don’t need to have a thought process around how you are going to achieve the goal you simply do.

Action

sedentary lifestyle

Finally we are at a point where we have our plan and we are implementing it in our daily behaviour, but what comes next? Unfortunately the “action” phase is expected to last only six months! This is why we need to ensure that your exercise or body movement becomes a part of your lifestyle.

If you are simply forcing yourself to go to the gym and you hate it, that is not going to last very long. Yet taking your dog for a walk morning and night will.

If you are adverse to exercise like I am I would recommend that you incorporate an element of fun and play into your movement regime. For a few ideas check out my article on How to lose weight from playing.

I hope these psychological models help you move through your barriers into a healthy lifestyle for your body mind and spirit.

In happiness and health,

Jadore Vanessa

Vanessa Barthelmes.

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