Live fully, move plenty: How to avoid a sedentary lifestyle

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Romain Chevalier is a certified health and performance coach, pilates instructor and personal trainer.

Romain Chevalier is a certified health and performance coach, pilates instructor and personal trainer.

A highly decorated athlete, he is ranked among the top 10 triathletes in Thailand.

He is based in Hua Hin and can help you become the best version of yourself.

Continuing his monthly health and fitness feature for Hua Hin Today, Romain shares tips on how to avoid living a sedentary lifestyle. 

Connect with Romain on Facebook and start your journey to a better you @HealthCoachRomain

During the pandemic, several studies have shown a decrease in people engaging in physical activity and an increase in people living a more sedentary lifestyle. 

It is perhaps not surprising when you consider things such as the closure of gyms and fitness facilities, as well as lockdowns and restrictions on ‘non-essential’ travel.

But while the pandemic was a brutal change for many people, people living a more sedentary lifestyle was occurring well before COVID-19. 

Unfortunately, living a sedentary lifestyle increases all causes of mortality, doubles the risk of cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, and obesity, and increases the risks of colon cancer, high blood pressure, osteoporosis, lipid disorders, depression and anxiety. I could go on. 

Yet there is a really simple and easy fix for people who live a sedentary lifestyle – start moving. 

After years of working with clients and after reading more scientific reviews on health and wellness than I care to remember, I have developed my own guide on living a less sedentary and more active lifestyle. 

I call the guide:  “LIVE STRONG”.

My definition of “LIVE STRONG” is living a life with no health limitations.

To LIVE STRONG is really straightforward and accessible to every single person reading this. 

To LIVE STRONG you need to focus on three fundamentals: a healthy body, a healthy mind and some healthy food.

The Body: 

Take care of your heart

  • Do at least 2-3 times low intensity activity a week (at least 60min). A low intensity activity can be a walk, a gentle run, a bike ride or anything that slightly elevates your heart rate and your breathing.
  • At least once a week, do a high intensity cardio activity. The best way to do it safely and without risking injury would be sprinting on a (stationary) bike, inclined walk on a treadmill or outdoors. For beginners, I usually recommend the following process, 20min warm up, followed up by 3-4 sets of 20s sprint and 40s recovery on a stationary bike.
  • The usual answer I get when advising people to do this, is “I will have a heart attack”.
  • Actually it decreases your risk of having one, it decreases your blood pressure, lower your resting heart rate and increases your lifespan among other benefits.

Take care of your muscle:

  • Muscle mass starts decreasing after you turn 30 years old, so the only way to keep it on, is to exercise. That’s why I recommend doing at least 2 strength training sessions a week in order to retain muscle mass, but also boost your mood, improve cognitive performance, boost your metabolism, and increase bone density.

The Mind:

  • Stress: A very important factor to keep your mind healthy and happy is to understand how to manage stress. I am purposely using “manage” stress and not “avoid” as stress is unavoidable AND it’s a needed factor to grow, to develop your brain’s ability to manage various kinds of situations.

Also after we reach 30 years old, our brain starts to shrink and with it our ability to learn and do other complex mental activities. So it’s important to keep stressing our brain to slow down the degradation.

A good way to deal with stress is to take a step back every time you face a stressful situation.  Try to use it as an opportunity for growth and a way to become better at managing difficult situations. I personally adapted this mindset, it is not always easy but I have been amazed at how much easier it now is to deal with stressful situations.

That said, there are a lot of ways to avoid useless stressful situations, such as decreasing our screen time, avoiding phone time right before and after bed.

  • Sleep: A healthy mind is a rested mind, as simple as that. You will not achieve anything great in life by doing sleepless nights. Prioritize your sleep, aiming to sleep around 8-10 hours per night. It needs discipline and focus but the benefits are worth it.

Food:

Eat less processed food and more real food:

The Mediterranean diet and Japanese diet are recognized as some of the healthiest diets. They are both rich in protein, vegetables and healthy fat (fish, olive oil) with very little processed foods. 

Making a small, yet simple change to your diet can have a massively positive impact on your overall health and wellbeing. 

If you would like more information on nutrition and training, connect with Romain on Facebook at facebook.com/HealthCoachRomain

 

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