While sitting disease is not the scientific name, metabolic syndrome is real. Some doctors have taken the liberty to call the very real condition of metabolic syndrome “sitting disease.” The reason for this is because metabolic syndrome is a combination of risk factors that create an unhealthy environment inside our body, increasing our chances for stroke, heart disease and diabetes.

Risk factors include:

  • Abdominal obesity: Waist measurements greater than 35 inches for women and greater than 40 inches for men.
  • Inactive lifestyle: No regular exercise and/or a sedentary job.
  • Insulin resistance: Also known as pre-diabetes or diabetes.
  • Increased blood pressure: A reading of over 130/85 or currently taking medications for increased blood pressure.

The first line of treatment for metabolic syndrome is lifestyle change. It’s called the “sitting disease” for a reason. Metabolic syndrome can be prevented by adopting habits that improve your overall health. No, you don’t have to turn vegan and run marathons, but simply adding in a walking routine and decreasing your food portions can make a huge impact on your overall health.

Here are a few tips to get you started:

Schedule regular exercise.

Put it on your calendar if you need to. It seems we can clear the schedule for hair appointments and play dates, but for some reason exercise tends to get the shaft.

Increase healthy food intake.

80/20 is the ratio recommended to use when determining how much healthy food and how much recreational food we should be eating. 80% of your intake should be of the healthy variety and 20% can be saved for occasions like the county fair or birthday parties.

Decrease portions.

If the 80/20 rule doesn’t quite work for you, work on your portion sizes instead. It’s amazing what eating half of what you normally eat can do for your waistline and overall health!

See, no marathons or vegan cheese needed, but a few positive changes can make a huge difference in your overall health and attitude. Setting goals and creating habits will help you determine what is feasible in your life and help you hold yourself accountable in achieving those goals.

Going Deeper

Going it alone can be difficult. If you’d like some help, feel free to ask your facility HR Rep about connecting with a Lockton Nurse Advocate and wellness team for some extra support.

Article originally appeared in the Lockton Live Well, Work Well newsletter.