The couch potato syndrome is not a clinically defined term, and has become a modern-day colloquial term, used for defining the compulsive habit of leading a sedentary lifestyle. This term is often used for people who spend all their waking hours lazing around the house or at office. People who never exercise and watch TV and sleep the entire day. The fact remains that even though it would be great to live a life where you can relax and not lift a finger, it is in no way good for one's health.
More and more children are turning into couch potatoes, which is one of the predominant reasons behind the increased ratio of obesity in today's children, teens and young adults alike. Socializing has taken a web oriented approach, making it unnecessary to actually step out of your houses, in order to interact with your friends or clients. A simple chat via the Internet or cell phone ensures that you do not need to budge from your place.
The Side Effects of Being a Couch Potato
Multitude of Health Problems
There are so many health complications attached to a sedentary lifestyle, that it often becomes hard to specify them individually. Secondly, the intensity of all the health conditions mentioned below may vary from one case to the other, depending a lot on the total body weight and pre-existing underlying diseases or health problems. Here are some of the conditions which prevail:
- Greater chances of obesity and cellulite formation
- Increased risk of high cholesterol and high blood pressure, which are bound to cause heart diseases such as angina, hypertension and a heart attack
- Back problems, which will affect the spinal cord and make it increasingly difficult to walk and maintain body weight and posture.
- Lack of exercise and excessive eating increases the risk of developing diabetes
- Weakness in the limbs and muscles
- Blood clots and pronounced nerves, which pain and are easily visible on the skin
- Abrasions and rashes on the skin
Development of Asocial Behavior
When people choose to stay indoors for long periods of time, they often end up wishing not to mingle with their family and friends beyond the realm of their living space. They become increasingly shy, disinterested, and sometimes even antagonistic towards socializing, and tend to prefer the company of their medium of entertainment such as the TV and computer. This can have a severe impact on an individual's social standing, as people would not appreciate being sidelined, and would thus rarely accept the individual back into their social setup, as and when he or she decides to finally stop being a couch potato and venture out.
A constant and daily routine of leading a sedentary lifestyle can drastically affect an individual's memory and attention span. People have been reported to become increasingly disoriented and lacking in concentration, after having spent days on end doing absolutely nothing. These people can forget minute facts and instructions, and are often found procrastinating a lot. They are also often found in a state of bad hygiene, because they tend to devote lesser of their time towards such needs.
Make the Decision
Nothing will move forward unless you decide that you're no longer going to let your life pass you by. Every minute counts and you must make the best of it. It is your decision, which will help you get over the sedentary lifestyle choices you have been making so far. You have to put an end to this habit, and once you make up your mind, will you be able to step out of your comfort zone.
Slash Down on Entertainment Time
You will have to completely cut down on the total hours devoted towards watching TV or surfing the net, etc. You must ideally fix a specific number of hours, not exceeding 3 a day, for such activities. The rest of the day must be channelized towards productive activities such as mowing the lawn, cleaning the house, each room at a time, going out to visit friends, and simply buying groceries from the market.
Exercise is a Must
You must take 45 minutes to an hour out each day in order to workout. Exercising will help you regain your strength, reduce the weakness in your body, help you lose weight, and also sharpen your mind. It will help you feel energized and fresh, thereby removing the lethargy you've been reveling in. You may exercise indoors or take a membership in an affordable gym. If not, you can try participating in sporting activities, where you can work as a team.
This syndrome is self-induced and can be easily rectified, provided the individual makes a concise effort to do so. If you are also one of them, or know of a loved one facing the same problem, the best way to help would be to encourage them. Humiliating these people and criticizing will only make them withdraw further into their shell.