In these technological times, many hours are spent sitting in front of a computer. Whether you are an information system analyst or work at home, or are retired, many hours are spent sitting at your desk answering emails, creating spreadsheets, preparing PowerPoint presentations or attaching business documents in Microsoft Works or Word. We even ‘do’ our social life online – shopping online, or on medias like Facebook to connect with old friends, reminisce and get reacquainted, make new ‘friends’, and post pictures of your mates and kids. People complain that Facebook has taken over their lives but considering how popular it is, it is a choice they choose. And we all sit and sit.
If, after hours of sitting in front of a computer screen, the computer person may opt for relaxing after dinner to watch TV or spend more time sitting catch up on personal emails or other PC-related video games. These folks’ lives are called ‘sedentary lifestyles’.
Sedentary lifestyle is a medical term used to denote a type of lifestyle with a lack of physical exercise. We have morphed into a society that spends many hours sitting down. Being sedentary makes you more susceptible to diabetes, high cholesterol, obesity and other health conditions. Surprisingly, it also makes you tired, sluggish, and mentally inactive. You need to move around, get your circulation going and rev up your metabolism. If it’s raining, go to a mall and walk – not shop. It’s even more important for youngsters to get fresh air and get outside – not spend hours with video games or their cells. Get them interested in a sport program; it is an all-rounded plus.
How much time do you spend living your life sitting down ?
Do you exercise regularly? Do you walk at least 20 minutes to a half hour every day as cardio doctors always suggest? Why not make exercise a part-time job that you do at home?
It is habit forming and more effective if you ‘report’ to your secondary ‘job’ the same time everyday. If you work at home, tell friends and family that you took on a part-time job every day from 11:00 pm to noon or whenever is convenient to ‘do the job’. It may be that there is an exercise program on TV that you can work out with; if not, put on your sneakers and go for a walk or dance to your favorite music. You may even lose some poundage.
During the day, it’s important to get up from your chair, stretch and walk around for a few minutes – even if it is to get a glass of water. Don’t leave water by your desk; get up and get a drink. Exercise your eyes by rolling them from side to side and look out the window at a distance since you have been working close up and in a glare. After using your legs, you’ll feel better and can continue to work in a few minutes.
If you have a regular job away from home, you may have to walk on your lunch hour, but it will be more beneficial to you than if you go to the lunch room and just sit again. If your company has walking trails or an exercise room, discover them on your designated hour or half-hour. If not, use your time to walk the halls and if there are stairs, use them. Don’t stop and talk and chat — look like you are busy and going somewhere in a hurry. You are. You are in a hurry to improve your health. Afterwards, you can always have a yogurt or power bar. Forget the cup of coffee or candy bar to keep you going. After the initial ‘high’, you get the physical and mental let-down and feel even sleepier. Better yet – get up and shake your booty. Walk or exercise – it will make you feel better and can be a life-saver.
Marie Coppola Revised July 2018
Some suggestions on how to reduce your risk factor:
Spend at least one day a week with younger people, especially grandkids, even if it is on Skype video or the telephone. Stay social with friends and family.
Walk, hike or swim (150 minutes of moderate exercise – weekly).
Treat depression; talk to your doctor; depression is linked to higher dementia risk. And sometimes depression can appear to be dementia.
Cook and eat heart healthy. Strive for a diet low in saturated fat, whole grains, fruits and vegetables.
Ask your doctor or pharmacist to go over your medications with you to see if any are at a risk for contributing to dementia or lacking in some vitamins.
Take some courses or classes. It can stimulate your brain and/or socially meet new people.
Volunteer your time to a cause or interest you support.
Staying connected to friends and family is key and one of the most important ways to avoid dementia. The risk of dementia is higher if one is lonely or isolated. Millions of people 50 and older (about 1 in 5) live alone and are at risk of isolation. The fastest growing type of household is individuals living alone. And many of those over 50, have no one to talk to about important matters.
Try to stay socially active; If you are homebound and/or can’t get around easily, learn to text on a cell phone or video chat or even social media chat, ie, Facebook. Twitter. In a busy world, a hello by text, especially to the teens & young adults in our lives, wlll ensure a faster return quicker than a return phone call. If you are not up-to-date in technology in computers or cell phones, there are FREE courses to learn about them. And a good brain exercise.
Being socially active, getting regular exercise (physically and mentally) and managing chronic conditions (diabetes, heart disease) are all plusses to reduce your chances of dementia.