Is it Really So Bad to be a Couch Potato?

By: Stevie Griffith

Opinion Piece

NOT scientifically reviewed by Dr. Eeks 


Just like the world of fitness and exercise, there’s a lot of misinformation going around about living a sedentary lifestyle and how bad that can be for you. Of course, we’re not saying you should never get off the sofa and use your muscles, but is spending the day watching TV instead of going down the gym really so bad for you? Let’s take a balanced look at the issue. 



We Burn Calories Doing Everything


It’s true. We burn calories waking up, going to work, eating meals, and even just breathing throughout the day. Calories get burned down even when we’re sleeping, because calories are just units of energy, and it takes energy to do literally anything!


Most adults burn between 1500 and 2000 calories just going about their day, even without exercise. That means sitting down on the couch with a cup of coffee and your favourite soap opera is a calorie burning activity, albeit a small one. 


When you keep this little fact in mind, it’s easier to be confident about making changes for the better. 


You Shouldn’t Be on Your Feet All Day, You Shouldn’t Be Sat Down All Day


Both are extremes and human beings evolved to do both! If you’re working all day long on your feet, it’s OK to come home and have a sit down for a couple hours. You don’t need to immediately hit the gym and keep the grind going. At the same time, if you’re a desk worker, and it’s been a few hours since you last stood up, it’s worth it to invest in a standing desk that’ll keep you between both states throughout the day. 


Laziness is Rarely a Real Issue


There’s a real focus on ‘productivity’ and ‘the grind mindset’ on social media right now. Within this rhetoric, a lot of people make insulting claims about those who like to sit down and spend time surfing through websites like soap2day to find something fun to watch. 


But behavior like this doesn’t result from ‘laziness’ – watching movies and TV is genuinely an enjoyable pastime. However, if you’ve noticed a sudden uptick in your media consumption, and a few plans with friends have gone out the window as a result, it could be a result of increased stress in your life right now. 


Muscle Atrophy Can Be Pervasive


People who don’t use their legs very often can experience pain and weakness in them. Indeed, it can sometimes take only 2 weeks from a change in lifestyle for your muscles to weaken. People who have been injured are most at risk of this, but this can also apply if you’ve suddenly taken to spending a lot of time indoors. 


Keep this potential physical issue in mind if things like stress, anxiety, and depression have pushed you indoors. Reaching out for support works on more than your mental state. 


A sedentary lifestyle can be harmful, but that doesn’t mean you should stop enjoying laying on the sofa!

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