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Combating a Sedentary Lifestyle with Simple Moves

Did you know gaming for hours or working at a desk and going to the gym for an hour each day can still lead to a sedentary lifestyle? 🤔 That’s right! Long periods of sitting can negatively impact your health, even if you’re active for an hour each day.

The Sedentary Trap

Sedentary LifestyleDespite incorporating exercise into daily routines, many people fall into what’s known as the “sedentary trap.” Hours of uninterrupted sitting at work or during gaming sessions can counteract the benefits of scheduled physical activities like going to the gym. This imbalance can lead to a condition often referred to as “Active Sedentary Lifestyle“, which is characterized by being physically active for short periods but predominantly sedentary the rest of the time.

Prevalence of Sedentary Behavior: According to numerous studies, including those published by the American Journal of Epidemiology [4], a significant portion of the average person’s day in Western countries is spent in sedentary activities, and some studies indicate that more than half of the waking hours are spent in sedentary behaviors such as sitting. Even among those who exercise regularly, it is common to spend extended periods seated, particularly in office settings or during long commutes.

Issues and Symptoms

Here are some issues and symptoms related to a sedentary lifestyle:

  • Chronic Pain and Posture Problems:
    Extended sitting can lead to back and neck pain, and contribute to poor posture over time.

  • Increased Risk of Chronic Diseases:
    A sedentary lifestyle is linked to higher risks of heart disease, diabetes, and obesity.

  • Mental Health Challenges:
    It can also impact your mental health, leading to increased feelings of anxiety and depression.

  • Fatigue and Low Energy Levels:
    You might notice a lack of energy and feel more tired, even if you’re not physically active.

Become Active

Here are some effective strategies to increase physical activity:

  • 🤸‍♂️ Move Every Hour:
    Every hour, try some simple stretches or just stand up for a few minutes; when gaming consider stretching every time you level up or finish a match. This boosts circulation and wakes up those muscles! I use a smartwatch that has hourly reminders to move. For an extra challenge, take a quick walk outside and focus on distant objects to give your eyes some exercise and a break from screens.

  • 🚶‍♂️💬 Walk and Talk Sessions:
    Planning a strategy? Have a meeting? Do it on the move! A walking meeting can enhance creativity, as walking boosts blood flow to the brain, aiding clearer thinking and keeping those gamer reflexes sharp. Plus, you’ll burn extra calories!

  • 💻 Deskercises:
    Yes, you can exercise at your gaming desk! Try leg raises, seated calf stretches, or desk push-ups. Get creative! Additionally, don’t underestimate the power of fiddling or fidgeting. This subtle activity can increase blood circulation, slightly boost your calorie burn, and even help maintain focus and reduce stress. Whether it’s tapping your foot, playing with a stress ball, or using a desk fidget toy, integrating small movements into your routine can contribute to your physical and mental health.

  • 🚶‍♀️ Choose Challenge Over Convenience:
    Take the stairs instead of the elevator, walk further for lunch or coffee or park a bit farther from the store. It’s an easy way to sneak in cardio and strengthen your legs.

  • 💧 Stay Hydrated:
    Keep a water bottle by your gaming setup. Adding a pinch of Celtic Salt can help with better hydration absorption. Drink in small sips to stay hydrated without frequent breaks. Snack on fruit for an extra hydration boost—they’re nature’s water bottles!

  • 🧠 Level Up Your Brain’s Resilience:
    Engaging in activities outside your comfort zone, including those you may not initially enjoy, can strengthen your brain’s resilience. Facing and overcoming such challenges can help develop mental flexibility, improve problem-solving skills, and enhance your ability to adapt to new situations. This process is known as cognitive and emotional stretching, which contributes to overall psychological resilience.

Keep moving, stay hydrated, and let’s game our way to a healthier life! 🎮🏃‍♂️💧

You Create You!


Lionel ThomasLionel Thomas
Father, Gamer and Founder with a Passion for Health, AI, Environment and Gamification of Life.

Author Tool:


  • 1.   Sedentary Lifestyle: Overview of Updated Evidence of Potential Health Risks

    National Library of Medicine
    A sedentary lifestyle, characterized by long hours of sitting and low physical activity, is linked to significant health risks, including increased all-cause mortality, cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, cancer, and metabolic disturbances like dyslipidemia and hypertension. Despite the global prevalence of sedentary behaviors—averaging 7.7 to 8.3 hours daily in adults in the U.S. and South Korea—many remain unaware of the severe implications. These behaviors diminish lipoprotein lipase activity and impair glucose and lipid metabolism, leading to reduced insulin sensitivity and altered hormonal levels, which in turn increase the risk of hormone-related cancers. Moreover, sedentary habits contribute to musculoskeletal issues, mental health challenges like depression, and cognitive impairments. Therefore, integrating regular physical activity, breaking up long periods of sitting with movement, and optimizing active periods can mitigate these health risks, emphasizing the importance of both reducing sedentary time and enhancing physical activity levels.

  • 2.   Inactivity and a sedentary lifestyle

    Heart Research Institute
    Quote "Up to 5 mil­lion deaths could be avert­ed glob­al­ly every year if peo­ple were more active."

  • 3.   The Normalization of the “Active-Sedentary” Lifestyle in Spanish Youth

    Scientific Research
    The study "Normalization of the 'Active-Sedentary' Lifestyle in Spanish Youth" reveals a significant cultural shift towards sedentary behaviors among young Spaniards, despite being perceived as "active" due to engaging in various non-physical activities. It highlights a paradox where physical activity levels are not increasing correspondingly with the perception of being active. The research shows that young adults differentiate between being busy with multiple daily activities and genuinely engaging in physical activities and sports, which are essential for maintaining health. The study stresses the need for structural sports policies targeting the primary institutions of socialization like families, schools, and media to counteract this trend. It suggests that breaking the cycle of sedentary habits requires a holistic approach, emphasizing the importance of early socialization into physical activity to foster long-term health and well-being.

  • 4.   Potential Effects on Mortality of Replacing Sedentary Time With Short Sedentary Bouts or Physical Activity: A National Cohort Study

    American Journal of Epidemiology | Oxford Academic
    The study titled "Potential Effects on Mortality of Replacing Sedentary Time With Short Sedentary Bouts or Physical Activity: A National Cohort Study" conducted by Keith M Diaz and others, published in the American Journal of Epidemiology in 2019, explored the health impacts of replacing sedentary behavior with physical activity. Using data from a national cohort of US adults, the study utilized isotemporal substitution techniques to analyze how replacing total sedentary time and prolonged sedentary bouts with light-intensity physical activity (LIPA) or moderate to vigorous physical activity (MVPA) affects all-cause mortality risk.

    Key findings include:

    Reduction in Mortality Risk: Replacing 30 minutes of total sedentary time with 30 minutes of LIPA was associated with a 17% reduction in mortality risk, and replacing it with MVPA resulted in a 35% reduction.
    Impact of Sedentary Bout Duration: Shortening prolonged sedentary bouts (defined in the study as sedentary periods lasting ≥30 minutes) with periods of LIPA or MVPA also showed beneficial associations with mortality risk, whereas simply replacing them with shorter sedentary bouts did not significantly impact mortality risk.
    Activity Levels and Mortality Benefits: The study also noted that the mortality benefits from replacing sedentary time with physical activity varied depending on an individual’s overall activity levels. Less-active adults gained more significant health benefits compared to those who were already more active.
    This study emphasizes the importance of not only increasing physical activity but also strategically reducing and interrupting sedentary time to improve health outcomes. It suggests that interventions aimed at reducing sedentary behavior should include promoting both light and more vigorous forms of physical activity, tailored to individual activity levels to maximize health benefits.

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