Your couch can hurt you far more than your gym if you don’t get off the couch and start exercising.
Many people get the chills when asked to get off the couch and join a gym. They realize they need to exercise once in a while, but they simply can’t bring themselves to do so, especially not in a stuffy gym, surrounded by people who might actually see them battle a treadmill. Other than that, they often reach for that age-old excuse: I’ve never been to the gym before, and I don’t really want to hire a personal trainer, and without one I’d be lost and break my neck.
Staying on the Safe Side
The honest-to-God truth is that chances are higher you’ll slip and fall in the shower, than get seriously injured at the gym. There are injuries you can suffer at the gym, of course there are, but they are not as bad as you think. 90% of them are suffered by performing an exercise incorrectly, and you can quite easily prevent them. Most gyms also have trainers present at all times, and their sole purpose is to help you stay safe and get the most out of your membership, so there is no need to be shy about asking for help.
Other than that, you need to equip yourself with the proper tools for the job, in this case, the right gear. Running shoes and gym shoes have very little in common, so don’t head out for a lifting session in your Converse. Don’t wear your baggy shorts and an oversized shirt, either. That can lead to an injury, if you trip over the leg of your sweats. If you aim to lift weights you have never lifted before, make sure you use a weight lifting belt – like I’ve said, better safe than sorry.
The Boogeyman Lurking Under the Couch
Now that we have covered your fears of the gym, let’s move on to your love of the couch. As a species, we were made to move, not sit. Sitting around does nothing good for you – you are not even resting properly, you only do that lying down, when your muscles are no longer active. If you look at the way we are built, you will realize we were given joints in order to move more efficiently. If we’d been made for staring at screens, we’d have spawned huge eyes and a single finger, to switch channels with.
Studies have shown that people who spend over 8 hours a day sitting are at a higher risk of developing cardiovascular diseases, cancer, diabetes and are most likely faced with a shorter lifespan than people whose life is not as sedentary. While most of us believe that exercising can counteract the dangers of not moving, the truth is not as bright: while people who do exercise along with their daily dose of sitting do have a smaller chance of developing a sitting-related disease, the figure in question is only a third. The only way to delay the arrival of the Grim Reaper is to get off the couch and move from a sedentary to an active lifestyle, which means moving more than 45 moderate minutes per day.
If you keep your butt slumped in a chair for eight hours every day, your abs will keep getting weaker and weaker, while your back muscles, which are carrying part of the load, will start to create an unnatural arch in your spine. The blood will start to pool in your legs, which can, in severe cases, lead to deep vein thrombosis. As your blood flow is slower in a sitting position, your brain will not get enough oxygen needed to think perfectly clear. One great way to get your entire body moving is rebounding exercises, on a mini-trampoline such as the Cellerciser.
Get Off the Couch if You Want to Win the Battle
There are several things you can start doing to offset the harmful effect your lifestyle entails: start by standing more. If you work at a desk, try a standing desk. Stand up when talking on the phone. Don’t sit in at meetings, try doing laps around the block while talking. You can also try sitting on an exercise ball, to keep yourself moving around, and force your core muscles into action.
While you are standing and moving around, your body begins to burn more calories, which instantly leads to losing weight. Other than that, important processes responsible for the breakdown of fat are also kicked into high gear this way.
What I hope you have learned is that sitting will inevitably kill you one day, while a few hours at the gym and exercising consistently will not. The gym will make your heart, lungs, and bones stronger, while if you don’t get off the couch, you will weaken them to such an extent that they will give up and stop working altogether.