We are a lazy bunch! Inactivity and poor diets are killing us slowly and silently. We know it, yet many of us are doing nothing about it. We put our health off until tomorrow as we are not sick right now. But as time passes by with each “play the next episode” click, we are slowly but surely failing our bodies and our minds. Even when we are faced with signs of declining health, we are willing to go down with the ship just to watch the latest episode of The Walking Dead. Oh! There is so much irony in that title.
The average Canadian who is between 18 and 34 years old watches, on average, 16.2 hours of TV a week and the numbers creep up the older you get. Seniors watch about 39.2 hours of TV a week! This is an unbelievable number! Over a 10 year period, a 30-year-old Canadian will have spent nearly one entire calendar year, 24/7, watching TV. These numbers don’t even take into consideration how much screen time we spend sitting on a couch, scrolling through Facebook feeds and playing mindless video games.
While watching TV in moderation is not a bad thing, the fact that we do it in such an unhealthy fashion is the smoking gun. Most of these hours are spent laying down, immobile and chewing on empty calories. The cycle of abuse to our bodies goes around and around, day after day until eventually, we are unable to move anymore. Our bodies become accustomed to the sedentary life and break down. Who needs joints and muscles if they are laying horizontally defying the effects of gravity?
All of this is not new to us, we know how much it hurts us; yet we still do it while our happiness is being drained along with our energy and our desire to make a difference in life. And we have the right to look at smokers with such disdain? I get it that smokers hurt others with their 2nd hand smoke, but have you seen the lineups at hospital emergency rooms lately? Doctors and nurses wearing themselves out tending to those with very preventable illnesses and injuries. A sedentary lifestyle is the same as smoking in my books. We all have the choice to quit.
Why do we do this to ourselves? The answer is quite simple. Our screens serve as a distraction to the pain that lingers in our lives. As we watch the world through our devices if even for a moment, we get lost and forget about our worries and instead focus on the concerns of others. We get to compare our faults and problems to those of others, and for a brief moment we find reprieve in believing “well, at least I am not them!”. But in catching up in that moment, our problems never go away, and in many instances, they only get bigger.
Our minds are fascinated in finding happiness wherever it can. If we are troubled, our brain tells us to go find reprieve because it doesn’t want us to feel any pain. So, on the couch we go, feeding our faces with snacks that sooth the pain and feed our minds distractions that cloak our issues. This cycle of self-help works, but it costs us our bodies until we eventually become our own episode of The Walking Dead. The emotional pain that we buried deep into the couch cushions will eventually manifest itself into physical pain and our heart will break from the overwhelming burden.
Get off the couch!
We only need about 75 minutes to 120 minutes of vigorous exercise per week to maintain a decent cardiovascular system. Start small, by just going for a short walk every day (even just every other day); just get into a habit and never skip a Monday! You would be amazed by how much a brisk, daily walk can clear your mind. The daily grind will become much more smooth and the pain both physical and mental that you have been putting off for so long, will not seem so sharp and much easier to approach. Sure there will be days that you won’t like it, but those are 100% the days you need to do it the most. Drag your ass, a bad workout is 100% better than no workout.
A sick body will ultimately lead to a sick mind, and a sick mind will lead to an early death. You owe it to yourself and those that love you to get off that couch, get moving and release the happiness that your pain has been suppressing for so long. Your happiness can only thrive in a body which is healthy.
Live to be healthy and move to be happy.
This blog post is part of a series of 26 that focuses on finding your inner happiness. Please check out the rest of the series here: The ABC’s of a Happy Life