09 May Dangers of living a Sedentary Lifestyle
A sedentary or inactive lifestyle is one where you spend a lot of time either sitting or lying down, with very little time spent on physical activity. This “lifestyle” is most commonly seen in corporate working industries where professionals spend most of their days seated at a desk.
Prolonged sitting can affect your spine health, increase your body mass index and can negatively affect your lifespan. The World Health Organisation estimates that sedentary lifestyle habits affects nearly 60% – 85% of the global population and causes approximately two million deaths a year. This places physical inactivity as the fourth leading risk factor for global mortality. Leading a sedentary lifestyle is considered to be just as dangerous as smoking.
The health risk:
Unhealthy habits such as tobacco use, excessive alcohol consumption and an unbalanced diet are associated with a sedentary lifestyle. This increases the risk for diabetes, obesity, cardiovascular disease, colon cancer, hypertension, osteoporosis, lipid disorder, musculoskeletal problems, a lowered immunity, depression and anxiety (to name a few) and is a result of being inactive.
Affects to the body:
Head: Prolonged sitting or being inactive slows down your blood circulation reducing the oxygen intake to the brain, which in turn can affect the optimal functioning of your brain. A lack of blood flow or oxygen can cause headaches and a loss of concentration.
Neck: Sitting in the same position for an extensive time can affect your neck, as a lot of pressure is put on the vertebrae, resulting in postural irregularities, discomfort, and pain.
Back: Remaining inactive means that your spine is inactive. An inactive spine is detrimental for your back health and can result in a number of issues such as a herniated disk or chronic back pain.
Muscles: Constantly sitting in a relaxed position can cause a loss in muscle mass. Making them more suspectable to sprains or tears.
How to stay healthy:
When at work try to regularly take breaks away from your desk. Take the stairs whenever it is possible and try to include exercise into your daily routine. Exercise and being active is the best way to reduce the effect of a sedentary lifestyle. WHO recommends doing a daily 30-minute moderate – intense activity. A moderate – intense activity is anything that involves movement to get you moving fast and strenuously enough to burn off three to six times as much energy per minute as you do when you are sitting. If you can still talk in a normal manner while doing the activity, the activity will then most likely fall in the moderate – intense category. Some activities to try, to avoid or reduce the effects of a sedentary lifestyle:
- A brisk walk.
- Riding a bike below 20km/h
- Doing household chores
- Or simply playing outside with your kids.
Blog.vantagefit.io. 2019. 10 Effective Ways To Combat A Sedentary Lifestyle. [online] Available at: <https://blog.vantagefit.io/sedentary-lifestyle/> [Accessed 8 June 2021].
Cammell, B., 2020. The Dangers Of A Sedentary Lifestyle And How To Avoid Them – FocusMe. [online] FocusMe,com. Available at: <https://focusme.com/blog/the-dangers-of-a-sedentary-lifestyle/> [Accessed 8 June 2021].
LifeSpan Fitness. 2021. Health Risks Of A Sedentary Lifestyle – LifeSpan Fitness. [online] Available at: <https://www.lifespanfitness.com/blog/2021/04/08/health-risks-of-a-sedentary-lifestyle/> [Accessed 8 June 2021].
WHO, 2002. Physical inactivity a leading cause of disease and disability, warns WHO. [online] Who.int. Available at: <https://www.who.int/news/item/04-04-2002-physical-inactivity-a-leading-cause-of-disease-and-disability-warns-who> [Accessed 8 June 2021].