We all have periods when we simply sulk at home on the couch in front of the TV, doing nothing but munch on unhealthy snacks for hours while watching Keeping Up with the Kardashians or Uncle Grandpa.
Whether you are a couch potato for a day or a month, this type of inactivity and passiveness will affect your health at many levels.
Recent research shows that acting as a potato couch has more negative effects that we initially thought. A report from Tel Aviv University has found that the precursors of fat called preadipocyte cells tend to mature into fat cells quicker when your body is lying or sitting down.
This means your body gains weight faster than for those who eat a lot but still maintain an active lifestyle.
To break this habit, you need to start an exercise routine, no matter how minimal the physical activity is. Some is better than none!
Once you practice a specific routine on a daily basis, it becomes a habit. Soon enough, your body will thank you for deciding to apply the necessary actions to become physically fitter. But how do you start?
Follow the steps below to help you get out of that potato-couch state.
Step 1: Choose An Activity
If exercising is completely foreign to you, it is best to start with simple exercises like walking or riding a bicycle. Get used to how your weight feels when you move. By taking long walks or rides everyday, you will start to notice that your mind is clearer and you have more energy throughout the day.
Picking an activity you like is also important when choosing to do something new. You should never view exercise as a punishment, but rather a hobby that you enjoy and look forward to. If you want to start learning how to dance, you can enroll yourself in a dance class for beginners and observe how your body responds to this activity.
Regular activities like swimming in the pool, cleaning the house, gardening or riding a bike, also count as exercises. You do not necessarily need to go to the gym right away to do some work out. You can start at home and make these daily chores purposeful.
Step 2: Set Achievable And Clear Goals
It is important that you set achievable weekly goals. For other people, it might be to swim 4 laps this week and 5 laps the next week. For you, you can use the stairs once a day and double the activity next week. Or anything else that fits your particular situation.
Set one simple, clear and realistic goal at a time. Start small and build up from there. When your goals are clear and achievable, you will continue to work with the purpose of self improvement.
Make sure to track your weekly achievements so that you have a visual representation of how well you are doing.
Step 3: Push Yourself Harder
If you have been going slow for weeks and your typical activities have started to feel comfortable, push yourself a bit more. For example, if you have been walking for two weeks, it is time to add some jogging to your health-boosting routine. You can even try to sign up for a gym membership if you are already confident enough.
Joining a fitness program is also an option you can look for. Following a program specifically tailored to people who are less physically active will help you get back on your feet and start losing weight faster than doing it on your own.
As your weight drops, your fitness level will increase. When it does, you will definitely see the perks of living an active lifestyle.
Step 4: Give Yourself A Reward
Rewarding yourself is important, just do not do it with food. You can reward yourself by putting money in a jar for every 5 lbs you lose, or getting a closet makeover every 8 weeks and see how many pants sizes you have dropped.
As of the moment, scientists are trying to find out what amount of sedentary activity is considered to be acceptable. But just to be safe, health practitioners are recommending to limit your television time and other sedentary activities like playing video games or surfing the internet.
If you sit down most of the time at work, it is also best to convert your office space into a stand up desk so that you get more regular physical movement. If this is not possible, taking short but frequent breaks to walk around or to stretch your body will also help.
Living a couch potato does not only make you gain weight, it also puts you at risk of obesity-related diseases like diabetes and stroke. To avoid all the health complications that can detrimentally affect your health, it is best to start getting up and becoming active.