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May 11, 2022


Are you a couch potato?  Did you used to be a couch potato?  Do you know a couch potato?  Do you like being a couch potato on certain days of the week?

At certain times you deserve some couch potato time in your hectic lifestyle, but if you reach a point where you can’t do your job, or what needs to be done around the house, your couch potato habit must be addressed, it must be put in check and a plan to ditch the habit must be put into place.

  • For those of us that are active, we may have friends and family members that are not as motivated and are couch potatoes. We owe it to ourselves to try and spread the desire to be active to them.  It is part of taking care of our community if you will.

We as humans were made to move.  We were made to be active in life.  Leading a sedentary lifestyle has harmful effects on your health.  These harmful effects can easily affect your physical body, but also your mental health (body).

One of the most hard to digest facts is that even if you exercise for one hour a day after or before spending most of your day hours at a work desk, then watching some television, you are leading a mostly inactive life.

There is such a coined term as an active couch potato.  Active couch potatoes are people who get the recommended amount of exercise, which is (15 hours per week), but still lead a sedentary lifestyle.  These active couch potatoes have the mindset that as long as they moved some during the day, they are fine, they are ahead of most other people, they are moving, so it’s all good.   While some of that may be true, they are in fact, moving, it still is not enough to move from the couch potato category.

Statistics from The American Cancer Society shows that prolonged leisure-time sitting, (greater than 6 hours per day), was associated with a higher risk of mortality from all causes like cardiovascular disease, cancer, diabetes, suicide, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, pneumonitis, Parkinson disease, Alzheimer disease, nervous disorders, and musculoskeletal disorders.  This is a lot of ailments and diseases that could be prevented if one would just commit to moving more.

There are so many other side effects of being a couch potato such as:

  • Gaining weight – sitting really doesn’t burn calories.
  • Weakened immunity system – physical activity has been proven to improve immunity. The more our body moves, the more our blood circulation improves.
  • Memory loss – too much sitting can lead to cognitive decline. Our brain needs an adequate amount of oxygen and nutrients.  Being a couch potato does not help in improving these supplies, so it affects the brain’s function.
  • Back problems – Poor posture, back and neck pain can be contributed to sitting too much on a couch.

What can one do to prevent themselves from being a couch potato or an active couch potato?

  • Overcome the urge to be sedentary and become fit. Many people procrastinate and find it hard to change habits.
  • Engage in household chores. Fold clothes standing up.  Fold clothes while walking around the house.
  • Use stairs instead of the elevator whenever possible.
  • Use a standing desk. If a standing desk is not available, take multiple breaks and walk around to aid in your daily movement.
  • Taking a drive to the store will also aid in movement to your day. Once you are at the store, you will get in steps browsing in the aisles.

Starting and developing a love for being outside has proven successful for me and many others.  Start a routine where you go outside for a walk each day.  Soon, your body and mind will crave to be outside and you will be getting the needed exercise and movement away from the couch!

By: Eden Barbee-Mabry / (@gardenonthegram – IG/ @EdenJBe – Twitter)
Eden Barbee-Mabry is an Education Support Analyst with the State of Georgia. Eden is a native of Kalamazoo, Michigan, and was led to relocate to Atlanta, Georgia after graduating from Clark Atlanta University in 1988. Eden joined Black Girls Run! in Spring of 2016 and graduated from the Walk B4 You Run program in June of 2016 and is currently Run Lead for the Fairburn, Georgia group. Eden is a purse lover and strives to inspire every woman because her belief is that although the circumstances may be different, every woman can extract strength from another woman’s story.