Your health reflects your lifestyle. Leading to a sedentary lifestyle can affect your health badly. When you restrict your body movement, you make your body lazy and inactive. The more active movements you have during a day, the better and healthy life you will live.
Instead of sitting, if you move or stand during the day, you will have less chance of early death. According to the report published in Annals of Internal Medicine, more than half of the average people have spent their most hours in sitting that include working at a computer or doing no physically active tasks. This report based on the 47 studies expressing the health effects of sedentary behavior. Other studies reveal that there is a higher rate of type 2 diabetes and cancer-related deaths in very sedentary people.
Effects of a sedentary lifestyle in the human body
Our body is constructed to stand upright so that our heart and cardiovascular system function efficiently. Because of this lifestyle, people experience problems with their bowel function. Studies reveal that we spend an average of 7.7 hours a day without being active. This is because we have less than 20% of jobs require physical activities. Spending more than half of an hour in sitting position in a day can lead to serious health issues.
Physical activities or exercises enhance your overall energy levels and maintain bones’ strength. Let discuss the four serious health risk because of inactivity in our life.
- Presence of blood clots
Due to inertia, the pooling of blood puts pressure on veins which leads to health issues. You will find spider’s webs across your skin because of superficial swellings also called varicose veins resulting aching or a feel of heaviness in limbs. Generally, it doesn’t count on a serious problem but venous thromboembolism (VTE) does.
VTE restricts blood flow due to the formation of blood clots in the vein. Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT)is another most common form of VTE which associated with your extremities such as legs. In DVT, blood clots form in a vein deep in the body causing problems in the lung. This what we called Pulmonary Embolism (PE) in which a clot dislocates and travels to your lungs and becomes a life-threatening illness.
- Risk of diabetes
We have insulin (hormone) that allows our body to burn sugar and carbohydrates for energy. Our inactivity puts negative effects on our hormone levels which further influences our immune system. Spending 24 hours sitting down is usually not possible but in any case, if this happens, our insulin’s effectiveness drops by 24%.
The average sitting of a person is about 8 hours in a day. A fair estimate suggests that a working official spend about 6 hours a day being seated while working in the office. Likewise, watching TV, playing games, or using laptops when you are at home. If you are continuously following the same routine for two weeks, your body will not able to increase insulin levels.
Due to this resistance of insulin, you will get weight gain as physical change and higher blood sugar levels as hidden reactions. This situation can result in Type 2 diabetes. Diabetes Care’s 2016 issue states that if you spend 3 minutes after sitting down for 30 minutes can enhance your blood glucose levels.
- Leading to heart diseases
It is a fact that if something affects your blood, then it can also influence your heart. Because of diabetes, the level of bad cholesterol increases in your body resulting in the risk of heart disease. Indeed, sitting too long on a position leads to heart issues regardless of blood sugar levels. Your good cholesterol level moves down by 20% just after sitting 2 hours. If you are watching TV for more than 3 hours each day, you are providing 64% chances to die from heart disease.
In the 1950s, the connection has been generated between sitting all day at your counter and premature death. This reflects the chances of heart attacks were twice in bus drivers than the vehicles’ conductors. Annually death rate in the U.S. is about 700,000 due to coronary heart disease reflecting the country’s leading reason for death. Further estimation reveals that 35% of death is connected with the people’s sedentary lifestyles.
Apart from this, depression also counts as another reason for heart disease. In other words, we can say that physical indolence can lead to suicide. According to health studies, 60% of people are suffering from major depression. More than 90% of people who choose suicide to end their problems have mental disorders before the time of their death.
- Chances of Osteoporosis
When you choose an uncomfortable chair to sit for a longer time, you will definitely feel pain in your back and neck. This is because there is a misalignment of bone in the spine which usually occurs when your intervertebral disc has lost its softness. That’s why sitting in a position for a longer time present a bad effect on your skeleton too. This we called osteoporosis means weak bones.
Our bones are intended to do renew constantly by reabsorbing and replacing the old bones. But when we are getting older, our bone becomes less prone toward rejuvenation. There is a loss of 1% bone density every year once you have reached peak production. If you have inactiveness in your routine, your bone mass will reduce at a faster rate when oxygen consumption drops. It is about 10% of cardiac output is received by your bones and oxygen is used in blood to repair and replace.
Is the risk of early death connected with a sedentary lifestyle?
Apart from the above-discussed health risk, another point of concern is the risk of early connected with sitting down. It is about 6% of death worldwide associated with a physical inactive routine which stated by the report of the World Health Organization (WHO). Indeed, it is the fourth leading risk factor for mortality.
A sedentary lifestyle is also responsible for 27 % of diabetes cases, 30% heart disease cases, and up to 25 % of breast and colon cancers. Sometimes, data are based on observation only that seems to be co-related but not always actionable. This is because when we are sick, we take rest for hours.
How can you save yourself from the health risks of a sedentary lifestyle?
It is never too late to be; if you are not having enough activity in 24 hours, then change your habit to get great health benefits.
Inculcate more physical activity in your routine
- Try to cover your distance by walking. Choose your cycle instead of car or bike.
- Despite life or escalator, use stairs for walking.
- If possible, leave your bus one or two stops early and cover the rest by walking.
- Park your vehicle far from your distance and walk the rest of the way.
- Calculate your timing of covering one kilometre and plan your daily distance accordingly.
Try to be active in the office:
There are some methods that help you to add some physical activities in your work environment.
- Instead of lift, choose the stairs to cover the distance.
- If possible, talk to your colleagues instead of emailing or group messages.
- Don’t take your lunch at your desk, enjoy your short walk outside and add some physical movements.
- Start walking meetings.
Choose active indoor routine:
Don’t stop your effort because of bad weather, start some indoor activities to make you active.
- Move your body at free time or dance.
- Include yoga and cardio in your daily lifestyle.
- Don’t always depend on others for your household works such as sweeping, dusting, etc.
- Choose to talk or make some movement in your home instead of watching TV serials.
- Walk while talking to someone over phones.
Conclusion: You may not be able to avoid sitting in your desk or working on the system for a long time because of job responsibilities but you can add some physical activities in your inactive lifestyle. We know our sedentary lifestyles create many health issues which may not seem instantly but it will affect our health in the future. Thus, it is time to think about adding some physical activities in your life to reduce your sitting hours.
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