by Tony Gjokaj October 24, 2021 3 min read

When I was dealing with depression, I would regularly avoid exercise.

It was too painful, and I was already mentally in pain.

Little did I know how introducing consistent exercise to my lifestyle improved my mental health for the better.

The most important suggestion I make on everyone's journey to improve mental health is being more active.

In this post, we are going to discuss why a sedentary lifestyle can negatively impact our mental health.

Let's dive in!

How A Sedentary Lifestyle Impacts Our Mental Health

Sedentary lifestyles can have negative impacts on our physical and mental health, leading to depression, anxiety, and even chronic stress.

This has been most notable with recent studies done as a result of the COVID-19 Lockdowns. These lockdowns helped us realize the importance of physical activity on our overall wellbeing.

According to one of the more recent studies done, those who spent 8 hours per day sitting, along with less than ~2.5-3 hours of weekly exercise reported depression symptoms or distress.

Even those with intense workouts who exercise under the 2.5 hour threshold reported the same issues.

This means that a combination of quality and quantity of exercise need to be considered for a more active lifestyle.

Now that we have a reference point based on this study, we can make adjustments to our lifestyle to be more active.

More hours of weekly physical activity.

Less sitting.

Recommendations

Start Small. Be Consistent.

Start small. Be consistent.

Slowly work to build up minutes to your physical activity.

This means that the time you spend working out at the beginning may be under the reference point.

That's ok for now, you will still feel some benefits immediately after your workout.

When you build that consistency, then you can add more minutes of physical activity.

This will probably be the most optimal way to build adherence to a more active lifestyle.

Craft Your Active Lifestyle

Craft an active lifestyle that works best for you.

Some of us might tell ourselves that we don't have time to work out.

While you might be incredibly busy, your mental health and your life may depend on physical activity.

If you prefer 30 minutes of some physical exercise daily, work towards that.

If you prefer to work out less days weekly, increase the hours of exercise to 60-90 minutes per session. This will equate to 3-4 days of workout sessions per week.

The days out of the week don't matter either. You can train 2 weekdays and 2 weekends.

Sit A Lot Less

Ironically, as an advocate of an active lifestyle: I work a lot at a desk, creating content and developing our brand.

This has a large impact on my overall wellbeing because working from home can be a lonely thing. It also can make us feel extremely lazy.

Being cognizant of this allows me to make adjustments.

One recommendation I do is set up time blocks of getting off of my seat and moving. Whether it is for an actual workout session or just standing, I make sure I get it done.

Another personal recommendations is to get something like an Apple Watch that tracks your standing minutes. This will notify you when you're sitting and it's time to get up.

These small adjustments can have a large impact on not only our mental health, but our bodies as well.

Tight muscles can cause discomfort for both the body and mind. Prolonged sitting can impact our neck, trapezius and back muscles negatively.

Onwards

No matter what part of your journey you're in, no matter if you're just getting started or wanting to add more to exercise, the goal is consistency.

When you build that up, you can add more minutes of physical activity.

If you get bored of said physical activity, try something new.

Try to find something that you can adhere to best.

With that being said, we want to thank you for reading.

Any questions or comments? Feel free to email us at support@reforgedperformance.com, or direct message us on Instagram.

Until next time, Reforged Warrior!

Tony Gjokaj
Tony Gjokaj

Tony is the Owner of Reforged Performance Nutrition. He is a PN1 Certified Nutrition Coach and has been in the fitness space for over a decade. His goal is to help bridge the gap between physical & mental health through fitness.



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