There’s a strong connection between your body and mind. Whatever happens to you physically can affect your mental and emotional state. Keep your body active and strong, and you’ll help to have a clear and sound mind too. Resort to sedentary behaviors and your body weakens along with your mental and emotional health.
The Effects of Sedentary Lifestyle on Emotional Health
Sedentary behaviors can cause mood swings, stress, anxiety, and depression. People who tend to watch a lot of television, or lay around for extended periods are more likely to be depressed than those who move more frequently and regularly.
One of the reasons for this is that lack of physical activities can affect your sleep, and sleep disorders are common symptoms of mental health issues.
Lack of sleep makes you irritable, impatient, and sensitive. It increases your negative moods, such as anger, sadness, and frustration.
You may overreact over small things, such as when plans don’t go your way. Even when something good happens, poor sleep makes you feel as if you have no energy so you can feel less excited or happy about it.
Sedentary behavior causes poor blood circulation. If you’re sitting for extended hours, the blood stays in your legs and feet and your upper body is deprived of an optimal supply of oxygen and nutrients.
When there is compromised circulation, it affects the regions in the brain that regulate your stress reactions and control your mood and motivation.
If you’re too sedentary, you can develop self-deprecating thought patterns. You may think of yourself in negative ways. It makes it difficult to see the brighter side of things and you feel less fun and vibrant.
A lack of physical activities makes your brain release more cortisol (stress hormones), which influences your fight or flight response. You can then find it hard to manage your emotions effectively.
How to Prevent Being Sedentary to Improve Emotional Health
Sedentary behavior can impact your emotional health negatively, but you can do something about it before it gets worse. Take care of your mental and emotional well-being by increasing your physical activities.
Here are some ways to do that:
Start By Making Small Changes
If you’ve been sedentary for too long but realize that it’s impacting your emotional health, don’t make drastic moves. You know you need to move more, but going from zero activity to an hour of workout every day can be counterproductive and dangerous to your health.
The key is to start making small changes so your body won’t be shocked or injured. It will also help you feel that you’re getting back in control of your life. Causing yourself extreme discomfort or pain will discourage further activity.
Engage in Small Activities
If you’re stuck at home, it’s easy to just sit around and watch TV, and before you know it, you’ve been sitting there for several hours.
Get up and find things to do around your house. There’s always a chore to do! Maybe you need to wash the dishes, wipe the dust off your ceiling fan, rearrange your bedroom cupboard, or mow the lawn and pull out the weeds, or, or, or… There is always something to do.
The movements you make to complete these chores will make a difference in getting you out of the sedentary lifestyle and improving your emotional health.
Plus, of course, you will feel better about yourself for having done what needs to be done.
Make Time for Regular Exercise
It can’t be emphasized enough. Exercise is crucial both for physical and mental health. Start with a few minutes of exercise if you’re coming from a completely sedentary lifestyle. Then gradually increase the amount and intensity of your exercise plan.
Even if you are only walking, good for you! Start by walking around the block, increasing to walking two blocks etc. If you only do 20 minutes per day, you will be doing 140 minutes a week. Or if you start by doing only 5 minutes a day and increasing it by a couple of minutes every day, you will soon be doing a lot more than only 5 minutes per day!
Regular exercise helps strengthen your body, consequently improving your sleep and mood. Also, when you feel good about your body, you’re more in control of your emotions too.
What happens to your body physically can affect you emotionally. Sedentary behaviors can lead to negative emotions and poor mental well-being. Lack of physical activities is linked to increased stress, anxiety, depression, and poor emotional health.
Being sedentary may feel comfortable at the time, but it’s ruining your health… slowly. But it’s never too late! Take small steps to make changes in your lifestyle. Find time to exercise. Walk more. Sit less. Move more and feel better.