Being a 'Couch Potato' can be linked to Increased Anxiety Risk

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Can Physical Inactivity Increase Risk for Anxiety?

Sitting in the same place for long hours, watching TV for more than 4 hours at a stretch or long working time with very less or no physical activity can make you a ‘couch potato’. This kind of sedentary behavior has found to be linked with increased risk of anxiety disorder. Several published studies have claimed a positive relationship between, amount of time spent sitting at one place to increase in anxiety in a person or vice versa. A systematic review done at Deakin University, Australia aimed at finding the relationship between sedentary behavior and anxiety levels concluded that long sitting hours can cause an increase in anxiety levels.

Long working hours in front of computer or laptop with no physical movement of the body is said to be a major cause of increased anxiety in adults. While long TV watching hours or playing video games on computer are risk factors for anxiety in children and adolescents. Binge TV watching and long hours of sitting are linked to social detachment and slow metabolism which in turn lead to increased stress.

Couch Potato and Anxiety Risk

Anxiety and its Risk Factors

Less or no physical activity has been a known risk factor for many chronic diseases like diabetes, depression, cardiovascular disease and cancer. Anxiety disorder can be because of any medical condition or impaired body functions due to less physically active lifestyle. Last minute cancellation of programs, inability to handle audience, constant worries about future or getting very nervous during tense situations are anxiety or panic attacks that affect regular lifestyle and hinder day to day activities. Anxiety disorder is a growing disease and has been successfully found to be linked with the modern lifestyle methods.

Physically active people are less likely to develop mental disorders and are found more confident than those who have sedentary lifestyle. Anxiety can be associated to traumatic events or unhappy life experiences and also with certain medical conditions like heart diseases, thyroid disease, diabetes, asthma, premenstrual syndrome and so on. Alcohol, drug abuse, people having family history of anxiety, chronic illness, mental disorders, stress, no physical activity and being female are all risk factors for anxiety disorder.

Treatment for Anxiety

Different treatments are prescribed for reducing the anxiety effects and treat anxiety. They include antidepressant which control activity of chemicals in brain and help in lowering anxiety panic attacks. Antidepressants like fluoxetine, imipramine, paroxetine, sertraline and venlafaxine are prescribed in different dosages according to the level of anxiety. Other medications for anxiety are busporines, which are prescribed with or without antidepressants. Benzodiazepines like alprazolam, chlordiazepoxide, clonazepam, diazepam, and lorazepam are sedatives which are prescribed only in certain circumstances.


Homeopathy holds an important place when it comes to treating anxiety. It is found to be as effective as allopathic medicines to cure anxiety. Medicines like aconite, arsenicum album, calcarea carbonnica are effective in anxiety and depression treatment according to its different symptoms.

How to Overcome Anxiety

Stay Active: Physical activity is the key cure to any mental disorder. Being active mentally and physically help you divert your mind from worrisome and depressing life events. Thus it helps in controlling anxiety and panic attacks. Also the more active you are the more you stay mentally fit. Sedentary behavior impairs mental functions and abilities making you prone to anxiety and other chronic diseases.

Eat Healthy: Healthy balanced diet is good to reduce anxiety problems. A person on a healthy diet routine is less likely to develop mental disorders than those who gorge on palatable foods like junk foods, chips, aerated drinks etc. A diet complete with daily nutrient requirements is beneficial towards lowering anxiety symptoms.

Avoid Drugs and Alcohol: Drug abuse and binge drinking have sedative effects on body that make you less active, hampering body metabolism. The body gets addicted to them and when not taken panic attacks may follow. Drugs and heavy alcoholism are found to deplete mental health considerably.

Avoid Drugs and Alcohol

Managing Time: Time management helps you a lot during tight work schedules. It will help in reducing last minute hustle causing panic attacks.

Track Your Symptoms: Tracking symptoms and events for anxiety can help the doctor in determining the root cause of anxiety in a person along with the type of medication needed to be prescribed.

Meditation and Relaxation Techniques: Relaxing techniques like meditation and yoga infuse more oxygen to reach brain, thus making it more healthy and active. This calms the mind and soothes the agitated behavior.

Sleep Properly: Getting enough sleep is a priority for a sound mind. Anxiety and depression are often accompanied by insomnia or lack of sleep, talk to your doctor about methods and medications that could help you sleep better.

Sleep Properly to Overcome Anxiety

Avoid Smoking and Caffeine: Nicotine in cigarettes and caffeine in coffee are bad for people with anxiety disorder. They increase certain chemical levels in the brain that could worsen anxiety effects.

Anxiety can be controlled and prevented; the only priority is healthy and physically active lifestyle. Avoiding situations that could make you a couch potato will definitely keep you out of anxiety and stress.

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