Posts tagged with "Couch Potato"

Tips for Getting More Activity into Your Life

Are you interested in changing your lifestyle to make it more active? If you’ve always been more of a couch potato than a weekend warrior, it can be hard to get motivated to move more. However, there are plenty of ways to ease into a more active lifestyle, and some of them even allow you to keep doing the same favorite activities you’d do from your couch.

Indoor Machines

If you have a lot of sporty friends, they’re probably always touting the benefits of the outdoors to you, but let’s face it: the drawbacks include things like heat, cold and bugs. If you don’t love the outdoors and you aren’t a fan of exercise classes and really all you want to do is keep watching your favorite streaming comedy or drama, you can have your cake and eat it too. Stationary exercise bikes and treadmills allow you to watch whatever you like or even read while you move. You might be surprised at how easily the miles slip away when you’re distracted.

Starting Small

Maybe you actually love the idea of being the kind of person who heads out happily for a 10-mile run or a 50-mile bike ride but you’re intimidated by the idea of getting started. Those first steps can be the hardest, but starting small doesn’t just make it easier for you. It’s actually the key to success. If you try to do too much, you’ll quickly get discouraged, but taking a short walk on your lunch break or making an effort to get more active with your kids are easy ways to slowly make activity a more regular part of your life. 

You might also look at ways to ensure that physical activity is enjoyable and comfortable for you. If you want to get into hiking, you don’t have to sleep in a tent every night. You can take day hikes and still sleep in your own bed every night. If the thought of cycling up big hills or on hot days intimidates you, you may want to consider an eBike. These battery-operated bikes essentially let you put in the amount of effort you feel comfortable with. If you do choose cycling, make safety a priority and wear a helmet. This can save your life if you are in accident.

An Active Desk

If you spend a lot of time working at a desk, this is actually a prime opportunity to get some movement in throughout the day. Sitting on an exercise ball instead of in a chair can help you strengthen your core while a treadmill desk lets you pedal while you work. You can even try out a standing desk.

Join a Group

A great way to get motivated to make a change in your lifestyle is by joining a group, either virtually or in person. On social media, you’ll find many different options based on activity, age or other factors. This can be especially helpful if you don’t have friends or family members who have particularly active lifestyles.

The Couch Potato Gene

Regular physical activity is a crucial part of living a healthy lifestyle. However, a majority of American adults spend their waking hours sitting, which leads to a variety of health issues such as obesity, cardiovascular disease and cancer.

Now, a researcher from the University of Missouri has identified a specific gene related to physical inactivity in rats that could potentially play a role in sedentary behavior in humans as well.

“Previous research has shown us that genes play some role in physical inactivity,” said Frank Booth, a professor in the MU College of Veterinary Medicine. “As inactivity leads to chronic disease, we wanted to identify which genes were involved and discovered one in particular, the Protein Kinase Inhibitor Alpha gene, that played a significant role.”

In 2009, Booth took 80 male rats and bred them with 80 female rats. He then placed the rats in voluntary running wheels, similar to those sold in pet stores, and tracked which rats ran the most and least. Over the past decade, Booth selectively bred the highly active rats with each other as well as the “lazy” rats with each other to determine if there is a difference in their genetic makeup. Booth found that the Protein Kinase Inhibitor Alpha gene was significantly less present in the “lazy” rats.

“What makes gene therapy difficult is that most chronic diseases are not caused by just one gene,” Booth said. “For example, there are more than 150 gene variations involved in type 2 diabetes. However, this study is paving the way for future research to identify other genes that might be involved in physical inactivity in humans as well.”

According to government data, costs associated with physical inactivity total $138 billion and account for more than 11% of total health care expenditures. In addition to the financial benefits of a more physically active society, Booth says a better understanding of genetic makeup could help public health officials see physical inactivity as a crucial priority to address.

“Physical inactivity contributes to more than 40 chronic diseases,” Booth said. “Rather than focusing on ways to treat chronic diseases after they have already developed, understanding the contributing factors to physical inactivity could help prevent those chronic diseases from occurring in the first place.”