Unexplainable lethargy, lazing on the couch binge-watching Netflix for hours on end, not being able to muster up the energy to exercise, or do anything at all: If this is an apt description of how you spend your day, then you may be a victim of the couch potato syndrome.
Couch potato syndrome, a.k.a. chronic laziness, functions very much like an addiction. Once you’re hooked, it’s difficult to kick the habit. However, if push through the haze to overcome, you’ll feel fresher, full of energy and much more able and willing to live life to the fullest.
Take note of these effective guidelines to overcome the couch potato syndrome and transform your life for the better.
Use Motivation ‘Hacks’
If you want to get up and get active, but simply lack the initial drive, there are several motivation “hacks” that can help you snap you out of it. For example, simply putting on your gym clothes and enjoying a coffee while wrapping up your favourite show can be motivation enough to make it out the door as soon as the credits roll. Visualization techniques are also great for this. Sure, you may not want to work out now, but think about how amazing you’ll feel afterwards! Checking out your favourite inspirational fitness quotes or Pinterest boards can also be inspiring for those who need an extra push. Whatever your method, just remember: You are the master of your own destiny, and you can break out this couch-potato rut if you just get moving.
You’ll never get up off the couch without a bit of support and accountability. Enlist the help of a friend or even hire a personal trainer, who will ensure you hit those scheduled gym sessions, whether you want to in that very moment or not. Make a workout schedule that works for you and stick to it. Sign up for a new exercise class, in which you have to attend particular sessions on certain day’s to get your money’s worth, or join a running group. No excuses.
Speaking of friends: they are your greatest resource in getting you up off the couch. Plan workout dates with your gym-rat pals, or even simply make plans to go for a walk and get a coffee with an old college chum you haven’t seen in awhile. Suggest active, fun activities you can do with others, like a pick-up sports game, a hike, or a long walk around your city. Getting up, outside and moving is much easier when it doubles as a social activity.
Put Your Health First
Couch potato syndrome isn’t just about wasting your precious time in front of a screen all day. There are many physical risks involved in being a couch potato. A sedentary lifestyle can lead to a number of debilitating diseases and ailments, including increased risk of heart disease, diabetes and arthritis, decline in bone density leading to a higher chance of osteoporosis, poor posture, back pain, low metabolic rate and fluctuating sleeping patterns, among others. In fact, one study suggests that leading a sedentary lifestyle can cost almost as many lives as smoking. Be aware of these consequences and remember to put yourself first. It’s very difficult to be happy when you’re unhealthy.
If you are unable to go to a gym or feel too lethargic to step out of the house, start with something small. Use these commercial breaks to get off the couch and perform a few jumping jacks, bicycle crunches, lunges or push-ups during these breaks. Promise yourself a 10-minute walk around the block for every hour of screen time. Run 10 flights of stairs every time your Netflix account asks you if you want to continue watching. Start small, get those endorphins going, and build momentum from there.
Whether you choose to kick the couch potato syndrome out of your life, or allow it to grow and take over your life is your decision entirely. But allowing the couch potato syndrome to develop into something even more debilitating will only do you harm. Life has so much to offer, don’t let the couch potato syndrome sap away your health and happiness.