By Samantha Clayton
For decades we’ve been hearing that a sedentary lifestyle can lead to numerous health issues. You’ve probably even felt the effects of sitting for prolonged periods, like a sore upper back and shoulders, tight hip flexors and swelling in the feet from reduced circulation. But did you know that spending prolonged periods of time sitting around, especially on screens, can affect our mood? That’s right, a sedentary lifestyle can also have you feeling blue.
In fact, a research study published by the Mayo Clinic1 indicates that even one week of sedentary behavior can have a negative effect of your mood. Getting up and being active is beneficial for not only for your physical health, but also for your mental and emotional wellbeing. Here are some tips to help you lift your spirits and beat those sedentary blues:
Make That Space Your Own.
We all know that ergonomics are very important in your workspace. If your chair, computer monitor or keyboard are at the wrong angle, it could be a recipe for stiff muscles and pain. Similarly, a workspace that is void of your personality can be a mood killer. Paint the room or hang art and pictures that reflect the desired mood, warm colors like beige and lavender for a relaxing atmosphere, or bright blues and greens to pump up the energy.
For every hour of sitting take a 10-minute standing break. Getting up from your seat at regular intervals can really make a difference and get the blood flowing. There’s a reason standing desks and workstations are so popular.
While treadmills and stationary bikes are great tools, exercising in beautiful surroundings outdoors is a great way to start enjoying being more active. Many find that what was supposed to be a quick 20- minute walk, becomes much longer when they are enjoying their surroundings.
Take Calls on The Go.
Make an effort to do your meetings while walking. Aim to accumulate 10,000 steps per day as this can help you to reap the benefits associated with regular physical activity such as improved mood and improved cardiovascular function.
Sitting on a stability ball is great for keeping your body engaged by engaging your core. The unstable position keeps your body moving and can boost core strength, while bouncing gently on the ball can give your mood a boost.
Find the Scents That Influence Your Mood.
Consider using scents to help to boost your mood and energy level. Having a particular scent that you associate with exercise is great for helping create a healthy habit. The smell of lavender for instance is very calming and soothing, so it’s a perfect way to get yourself into a calm state before doing yoga. On the other hand, peppermint and lemon are more uplifting scents to help get you energized.
If you have weight to lose or have negative thoughts about your body, try to work on finding some positive body confidence statements. These statements come much more naturally when we make small changes in our routine to make ourselves feel better. Remember that positive actions and words start with positive thoughts.
Stretching and muscle release techniques like self-massage can do wonders for relieving sore and tight muscles caused by post-workout soreness or tight muscles from sitting at your desk all day. Treat yourself to a muscle releasing self-massage using a foam roller or tennis ball. Spend 10 minutes focusing on the areas that feel tight.
Take A HIIT.
A HIIT training session can boost your endorphin levels and help get the blood flowing. You don’t need to dedicate a lot of time for this type of training. Pick 4 of your favorite moves and do 40 seconds of exercise, followed by 20 seconds of rest, then repeat for 3 sets. This quick exercise blast can help to boost mood while building muscles.
Treat Yourself to Some Protein.
Protein is an essential nutrient for building muscle as well as promoting healthy skin, nails and hair. Another added bonus of consuming adequate amounts of protein is that it helps keep us feeling full for longer, keeping hunger at bay. Treat yourself to a mid-day protein shake. Adding some fresh fruit will boost your vitamin consumption and help keep you feeling energized.
1Edwards MK, Loprinzi PD. Effects of a Sedentary Behavior-Inducing Randomized Controlled Intervention on Depression and Mood Profile in Active Young Adults. Mayo Clin Proc. 2016;91(8):984-998. doi:10.1016/j.mayocp.2016.03.021
Samantha Clayton, OLY, ISSA-CPT, is Vice President, Worldwide Sports Performance and Fitness, Herbalife Nutrition.