What is Wrong with Being a ‘Couch Potato’?

What is Wrong with Being a 'Couch Potato'?

There’s a Nationwide Building Society ad that says it all. The bearded man says he wanted to save money so started doing his yoga class at home. There are two benefits to this, he adds; one is that you don’t have to pay for it… the other is that you don’t have to do it.

That’s probably the anthem for 2020 for many people. With all the best intentions in the world it can be harder to do these things when you’re forced into being stuck at home for most of the day. It’s a strange thing; you struggle to find the energy…

So What is Actually Wrong with Being a Couch Potato?

The site dictionary.com says a couch potato can be used as a general term for someone who is lazy, but that it usually refers to a person who slouches on a couch all day, watching TV.

But it can be dangerous for your health.

Even if you do follow the World Health Organization’s suggestion of 150 minutes of moderate to intense physical exercise a week, most people still spend too much time slouched on the sofa.

And the human body just isn’t designed to be sitting down in an office, then sitting down at home for hours and hours each day.

Is It All Bad?

According to this article on Inc.com, being sedentary not only reduces your energy levels and muscle tone, it causes you to achieve less in other areas of life. Your willingness to exercise shapes your personality (and of course vice versa, but we knew that already).

But if you’re a ‘couchie’ and proud, a study by researchers in Germany and the Netherlands found that if you think of sitting in front of the TV or playing on your games console as a reward after a hard day’s work, you will likely have an improved sense of well-being.

If, on the other hand, you treat using the media as being a guilty thing, something that you shouldn’t be doing, you may be suffering from a depleted ego. That means you are in a constant state of making decisions, adjusting to social norms and avoiding mistakes. There’s no relaxing with a depleted ego.

The study is called “The Guilty Couch Potato”.

What About Your Sofa?

All that sitting around doesn’t just affect your body and your mind. It can damage your sofa too.

Actually, it has nothing to do with being a couch potato, merely being a human.

Humans tend to fall into habits. Sometimes those habits are positive, sometimes less so.

And relaxing after a hard day is no different.

You take the same spot on the sofa each time you sit down. But doing this can cause major damage to your furniture. The day-in-day-out repetition of sitting in the same place means seat cushions get crushed, the springs wear and the cover deteriorates.

A simple fix might involve buying some upholstery supplies, but in the worst cases that constant sitting in one place means the damage can only be fixed by buying a new sofa. And new sofas aren’t necessarily cheap.

So break the habit and distribute your sitting spot. Better still, don’t sit… get out, see the world, become one with nature.

Slouching on the Couch

If you do find yourself spending more time on the couch than you’d prefer, think about how you sit. Slouching can lead to back pain and digestive problems. And softer sofas mean bigger problems.

Older style sofas (think Victorian or Edwardian) had a much more upright position, delivering more support and less slouch. But more modern styles are designed around comfort and relaxation, offering more opportunity to stretch out and slouch.

If you do find yourself in this position or your sofa is becoming damaged try changing position, you might like it even better. Also remember to regularly swap over cushions or rotate them so the wear is being distributed evenly. Cleaning your sofa regularly will keep it in top shape.

Finally the government recommends 150 minutes of moderate exercise a week – that is exercise that makes you sweat. Or change this to 75 minutes of vigorous exercise a week (think jogging or wrestling). Give it a try.