Modern advances make our lives easier, but they’ve led many of us to adopt a more sedentary lifestyle. Moving less and sitting more is linked to several health conditions believed to be a major cause of obesity and increase all causes of mortality.
Harmful effects of a sedentary lifestyle
Sitting all day in front of our screens or long duration of physical inactivity creates room for obesity to kick in. Being obese has its side effects. Extended periods of inactivity can reduce metabolism and impair the body’s ability to control blood sugar levels, regulate blood pressure, and break down fat. Obesity is linked with many serious diseases and health conditions such as sleep apnea, joint pain, risk of stroke, heart disease, risk, hypertension, and more.
Studies have shown that even five days lying in bed can lead to increased insulin resistance in your body (this will cause your blood sugars to increase above what is healthy).
3. Makes you prone to heart diseases
Sedentary behavior can lead to high blood pressure, poor cholesterol levels, and an increase in blood sugar levels which can damage the walls of the blood vessels, increasing the risk of a heart attack.
4. Increased feeling of anxiety and depression
When you are sluggish for too long your mental health tends to suffer too, as it increases the chances of stress, restlessness, and depression. This condition is more likely in adolescents and adults because they are more likely to spend more time looking at screens. Many also follow an unhealthy diet and poor sleep schedule. These factors can worsen the condition.
5. Increase in chances of cancer
Being physically inactive and having long hours of sitting can increase the risk of certain cancers including colon, breast, and lung cancer.
Your bones and muscles are made to work. Sedentary behavior and an inactive lifestyle affect your body’s regulation and can make the bones weaker, which is associated with a higher risk of osteoporosis.
7. Little or no flexibility
A sedentary lifestyle can lead to loss of flexibility as the flow of blood is comparatively slow through firm and bound muscles. It can also cause inflammation and pain. There can also be pressure on the disks in your lower back which is a common reason for backache.
How can you save your health from the dangers of sitting?
If you’re not getting enough activity in your day, it’s not too late to turn it around and gain health benefits in the process
Some ways you can incorporate activity into your day are:
- Walk or cycle, and leave the car at home.
- For longer trips, walk or cycle part of the way.
- Use the stairs instead of the lift or escalator, or at least walk up the escalator.
- Get off the bus one stop early and walk the rest of the way.
- Park further away from wherever you are going and walk the rest of the way.
- Calculate how long it takes to walk one kilometer – you may find you can reach your destination faster by walking than if you wait for public transport.
Be active (and safe)
If you are new to physical activity, or if you have a health condition, speak to your doctor before you begin any new activities.
Be active at work
You can move around at work more than you think:
- Take the stairs instead of the lift.
- Walk over and talk to your colleagues instead of emailing them.
- Take your lunch break away from your desk and enjoy a short walk outside if you can.
- Organize walking meetings.
To conclude, many people do not meet the minimum physical activity guidelines and are at risk of developing health issues from spending too much time being sedentary.
People can reduce the risks of a sedentary lifestyle by increasing the amount of physical activity that they do and using the techniques above to reduce the time they spend being sedentary.