The demands of life have changed in so many ways due to the coronavirus. The Covid-19 pandemic has put many of us on our backsides, school children and adults alike. Many were forced to work from home because of social distancing measures, which meant that workers were suddenly always in their offices. Those 9am to 5pm jobs became 24/7. Working parents also had the additional task of balancing their job responsibilities with home schooling their children. All of these new demands took over people’s lives for a while, causing many to become less physically active. The end result was that many previously active individuals became inactive and sedentary. Unfortunately, there is a health cost to becoming a couch potato that includes many negative and worrisome health consequences.
Sitting around affects the body in many ways. Inactive muscles weaken and tighten. Bone density decreases. Burning fewer calories tends to lead to weight gain. Mood is altered and may lead to the onset or worsening of anxiety and depression. The function of our body’s immune system also declines.
On a metabolic level, insufficiencies in how our bodies break down sugars and fats can lead to diabetes, high cholesterol, elevated blood pressure, and related health issues such as heart disease, stroke, heart attack, and increased risk of certain cancers. All of these health issues increase the risk of premature death.
The cure for being a couch potato is easy, simply get moving again. Make resuming physical activity and restoring your health a priority. Schedule time each day for physical activity and exercise. Find something that you like to do and do it. Some ideas include walking or jogging, bicycling, or yoga. For those who have truly been sitting around for months, keep in mind you will be out of shape at first. Start slowly, and listen to your body. If you suspect a problem, seek medical assistance.
General physical deconditioning associated with a sedentary lifestyle can lead to functional loss. Loss of physical function is a treatable medical condition. If you need help and guidance getting back into better physical condition give our office a call. One of our physical therapists can work with you to design an appropriate, patient specific program, to help restore your physical health.