Sedentary Lifestyle – A Behavior With Serious Health Risks
Do you mostly find yourself seated during the course of each day? Does your daily routine involve being seated for an extended period? Are you more inclined to be seated than move around? If you have answered ‘yes’ to any of these questions, then you are living a sedentary lifestyle. A sedentary lifestyle is dangerous. It is a behavior with serious health risks.
What is Sedentary Lifestyle?
A sedentary lifestyle is a type of lifestyle involving little or no physical activity. A person living a sedentary lifestyle is often sitting or lying down while engaged in reading, socializing, watching television, playing video games, or using a mobile phone/computer for much of the day.
Around the world, people are spending more and more time doing sedentary activities. Most would rather drive or take a cab for even a short trip to the grocery store or supermarket. Not much seriousness is given to even simple activity like walking.
A healthy lifestyle is one that includes light physical activity associated with typical activities of daily living. A moderately active lifestyle consists of walking 1.5 to 3 miles daily at a steady pace. There’s no denying the fact that modern advancements in technology have definitely made our lives easier. The sad facts is: millions of people around the world have become stuck in this lifestyle behavior.
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Statistics of Sedentary Behavior
Around the world, people are spending more and more time doing sedentary activities. During our leisure time, we are often sitting: while using a computer or other device, watching TV, or playing video games. Many of our jobs have become more sedentary, with long days sitting at a desk. And the way most of us get around involves sitting – in cars, on buses, and on trains.
According to the World Health Organization, sedentary lifestyle is a major underlying cause of death, disease, and disability. Approximately 2 million deaths every year are attributable to physical inactivity. Preliminary findings from a WHO study on risk factors suggest that sedentary lifestyle is dangerous. It is one of the ten leading causes of death and disability in the world.
Levels of inactivity are high in virtually all developed and developing countries. In developed countries more than half of adults are insufficiently active. In the rapidly growing large cities of the developing world, physical inactivity is an even greater problem. Crowding, poverty, crime, traffic, low air quality, and a lack of parks, sports and recreation facilities, and sidewalks make physical activity a difficult choice.
Data from the US National Health department show that 4 in 10 U.S. adults say that they NEVER engage in any physical activities. No exercises, sports, or physically active hobbies in their leisure time. Indeed, millions of people living a sedentary lifestyle, a behavior with serious health risks!
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Health Risks of Sedentary Lifestyle
Recent research is starting to confirm the health risks associated with a sedentary lifestyle. Studies have now consistently demonstrated that leading a sedentary lifestyle can contribute to health challenges. Obesity, type 2 diabetes, some types of cancer, cardiovascular disease and early death are some of them.
Extended periods of inactivity can reduce metabolism and impair the body’s ability to control blood sugar levels. It can also affect how the body regulates blood pressure and break down fat. One study analyzed data collected over 15 years and some interesting facts were found. Basically, sedentary lifestyles were associated with an increased risk of early death regardless of physical activity levels.
This shows that it is essential to reduce the amount of time spent being sedentary in addition to doing more exercise. A sedentary lifestyle can potentially contribute to ill health and many preventable causes of death.
How much of physical activity is recommended?
World Health Organization recommends that children and adolescents aged 5 – 17 years should do at least 60 minutes of physical activity daily. Engaging in physical activity greater than 60 minutes daily will only serve to provide additional health benefits. These should include activities that strengthen muscle and bone, at least 3 times per week.
It is also recommended that adults aged 18–64 years should do at least 150 minutes of physical activity throughout the week. For additional health benefits, adults should increase their moderate-intensity physical activity to 300 minutes per week. Other activities that help to strengthen the muscles should be done 2 or more days a week.
Finally, for adults aged 65 years and above, they should do at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity throughout the week. To gain additional health benefits, they should increase moderate-intensity physical activity to 300 minutes per week. And those who cannot move around freely should perform physical activity to enhance balance and prevent falls, 3 or more days per week.
Benefits of Regular Physical Activity
Regular physical activity of moderate intensity – such as walking, cycling, or doing sports – has significant benefits for health. At all ages, the benefits of being physically active outweigh potential harm, for example through accidents. Some physical activity is better than doing none. By becoming more active throughout the day in relatively simple ways, people can quite easily achieve the recommended activity levels.
Regular and adequate levels of physical activity can improve muscular and cardio-respiratory fitness and improve bone and functional health. It can also reduce the risk of hypertension, coronary heart disease, stroke, diabetes, various types of cancer (including breast cancer and colon cancer), and depression. Additionally, you can reduce the risk of falls as well as hip or vertebral fractures through physical activity. They are fundamental to energy balance and weight control. Such physical activities are very beneficial because a sedentary lifestyle is dangerous.
It is very clear that a sedentary lifestyle is dangerous. Many people are living a sedentary lifestyle, a behavior with serious health risks. You can avoid bringing such risks on yourself by engaging in some form of physical activity EACH DAY! Which physical activity do you enjoy the most? Let us know in the comments section below.