19 Strong Sedentary Lifestyle Risks Costing You Your Wellbeing

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The Sedentary lifestyle risks have become a common problem in the present world. With advancements in technology and the rise of desk jobs, your way of living has become more inactive. In this blog, you will learn about the sedentary lifestyle risks that are costing you your well-being.  

A sedentary lifestyle means a lack of physical activities. Your lifestyle includes spending most of your time sitting or relaxing, doing minimal or no activity, and no physical form of exercise.

Even if you go to the gym for an hour of the day but spend most of the day on your couch, chair, and bed. It is also an inactive lifestyle.

You sit all along the day, work on your laptop, and enjoy the luxuries of life, thinking that you are living your best life. Unfortunately, you’re not. 

This lack of activity is detrimental to your health. Let’s dive in and learn how this inactivity is leading you to sedentary lifestyle risks that are costing you your health and well-being.

 

19 Strong Sedentary Lifestyle Risks Costing You Your Wellbeing

A Sedentary lifestyle does not only mean that you stay inactive. It also includes preferring to eat unhealthy food, food that is not home-cooked. 

The sedentary lifestyle affects your body in the following ways:

1. As you prefer to sit all the time, you cannot burn calories. This leads to weight gain.

2. While sitting your posture is wrong, causing stiffness in the back and neck.

3. No movement after dinners leads to undigested fats and sugars which increases your sugar level and also affects the digestion process.

4. Staring continuously at your screen, your neck bends which can create cervical issues in the future

5. A sedentary lifestyle makes you indulge in junk food which means more intake of salt, sugar, and refined flour. 

6. If you sit continuously, it can shorten your hip flexor muscles which can cause problems in hip joints.




19 Sedentary Lifestyle Risks You Must Know 

If you eat, work, sleep, and repeat, and think that it is a blessing, you cannot be more wrong. You are jeopardizing the most significant thing in life which is your body. 

According to the WHO reports, between 2020 and 2030, almost 500 million people will develop heart disease, obesity, diabetes, or other non-communicable diseases (NCDs) due to physical inactivity, costing US$ 27 billion annually.

Here’s how your inactivity is leading you to 19 potential sedentary lifestyle risks affecting your body and mind.

 

1. Weight Gain and Obesity

If you stay inactive the whole day, you will not burn calories. These surplus calories get stored as fat. 

Sitting for a prolonged time will slow down your metabolism. A slow metabolism will cause obesity, which will give rise to more health issues.

 

2. Hypertension

When you stay inactive, plaque starts accumulating along your blood vessels making a thick wall around them. This makes it more difficult for blood to flow down easily, putting pressure on your blood vessels. This can result in hypertension which is also a cause of various heart issues.

More salt intake from junk food like chips is also a cause of the rise in blood pressure.

 

3. Heart Disease

The heart is unable to get enough blood because of narrow blood vessels due to fat deposition. This may increase the chances of a heart attack in the future. Involving in any physical activity improves blood circulation and strengthens your heart muscles.

Eating unhealthy food and lack of physical activity increase the risk of various heart issues.




4. Type 2 Diabetes

If you spend your time staying inactive your body becomes less sensitive to insulin. Insulin is the hormone that regulates the blood sugar levels. Inactivity can make your body more resistant to insulin, which makes you more prone to type 2 Diabetes.

Diabetic people are advised by doctors to go for a morning walk daily. Walking helps in building stamina and burning calories. In this way, your body can use insulin more effectively.

 

5. High Cholesterol

Lack of physical activity lowers your HDL (the good cholesterol). Intake of saturated fat and trans fat increases LDL (the bad cholesterol) in the body. These fats are present in chocolate, bakery products, deep-fried and processed food. Nowadays intake of these foods has increased which raises the level of LDL. 

The high level of LDL leads to the build-up of plaque in your arteries. If this build-up continues, it will lead to complete blockage of blood in the coronary artery causing the heart attack.

The build-up of plaque in other arteries of your body (just like in your brain) can disrupt their function and even cause brain stroke.

 

6. Digestive Issues 

Inactivity slows down the digestion process causing problems like bloating, constipation, and indigestion. Sitting and lying down also indulges you in munching more which increases your weight. 




7. Poor Circulation of Blood

Inactivity can obstruct blood circulation, particularly in the legs and feet. This can cause swelling and numbness in the legs. It increases the chances of blood clots in the veins of the legs which causes DVT – Deep Vein Thrombosis.

DVT is a life-threatening condition if left untreated. That’s why it is advised to stay active as much as possible.

 

8. Poor Sleep Quality

Regular physical activity helps in regulating the sleep cycle and improving the quality of your sleep. An inactive lifestyle can disturb your sleep patterns which can cause insomnia and other sleep issues. 

By staying active you can sleep better and wake up feeling refreshed and energized to take over your day. 

 

9. Impacts Your Fertility 

Studies have shown that an inactive lifestyle affects fertility in both men and women. It lowers the sperm quality and quantity in men. 

Obesity caused by inactive life impacts fertility in couples. Obesity results in poor semen quality, damaging DNA, and impairing ovulation

Involvement in physical activity helps in regulating hormones and improving the blood flow toward reproductive organs in women.




10. Muscle Degeneration

Regular physical activity is necessary for building and maintaining muscle mass in your body. When you are sedentary, your muscles begin to atrophy, leading to muscle weakness and loss of function. This can increase the risk of injuries, fractures, and accidents.

If your muscles are weak and you fall, it will cause you more injury in comparison to an active person.

 

11. Decrease in Bone Density

Studies have shown that doing strength training increases your bone density, decreases the risk of injury, and builds back lost muscle tissue which is caused by aging. So it becomes more important for elder people to indulge in strength training. 

Decreased bone density causes joint issues like arthritis, and osteoporosis and increases chances of fractures. Engaging in strength training activities is essential for maintaining healthy bones.

 

12. Metabolic Syndrome 

Metabolic syndrome is the presence of three or more following conditions-

  • abdominal obesity
  • high triglycerides
  • low HDL cholesterol
  • Hypertension and 
  • hyperglycemia

It is a cluster of conditions that increases the risk of heart disease, stroke, and diabetes.

As per studies, an inactive lifestyle is a significant cause of metabolic syndrome. 34% of US adults are suffering from metabolic syndrome.




13. Increased Risk of Certain Cancers

Prolonged sitting and inactivity are linked with an increased risk of certain types of cancer. Research has shown that the sedentary lifestyle risks can contribute to the development of colon, endometrial, and lung cancers. 

Less physical activity increases the chances of these cancers.

 

14. Negative Impact on the Immune System

An inactive lifestyle can weaken your immune system, making you more prone to infections, allergies, and diseases. Regular exercise helps strengthen your immune system by increasing the production of antibodies. It helps in improving the circulation of immune cells. 

When you don’t engage in physical activity, your immune system becomes weak to fight off pathogens, making you more vulnerable to diseases. 

 

15. Accelerate Aging

Physical activity helps in maintaining a healthy body and toning the muscles. When you are less active, your body is more prone to oxidative stress and inflammation. This is a major factor in premature aging.

The lack of exercise can lead to loss of muscle mass and bone density. It causes the issue of mobility as you age. Leading an inactive lifestyle can accelerate the aging process.




16. Impacting Cognitive Function

Sitting for longer periods has negative consequences on your cognitive function and productivity.

Studies have shown that prolonged sedentary behavior is associated with decreased brain function, impaired memory, and reduced attention span

Physical exercise prevents cognitive decline linked with aging. It reduces the risk of dementia in elderly people and improves their quality of life.

Taking regular breaks to move and exercise can enhance the functioning of your brain, improving mental clarity and focus. Thereby it helps in improving your overall productivity and work quality. 

 

17. Increased Risk of Chronic Pain

Sitting for longer periods can contribute to chronic pain, particularly in the back, neck, and shoulders.  

Poor posture and lack of movement can cause stiffness and tension in the neck and back. It causes pain in the head, neck, upper back, and hands. If not corrected it can lead to cervical issues.

 

18. Lowers Life Expectancy rate

Studies have shown that the sedentary lifestyle risks include a decrease in life expectancy. Physically active people have more lifespans in comparison to inactive people.

That’s why engaging in regular physical activity is significant for improving your health. It increases your chances of living a longer, happier, and healthier life.




19.  Mental Health Issues

A sedentary lifestyle negatively affects your mental well-being. 

Studies have found a strong link between inactive life and mental health issues, such as depression and chronic anxiety. Participating in physical activities could help to reduce the instances of depression, anxiety, and other mental health issues.

The lack of physical activity can lead to feelings of lethargy and low self-esteem that can negatively impact your mental state.

 

How to Overcome These Sedentary Lifestyle Risks? 

Overcoming these sedentary lifestyle risks comes down to one and one thing only: physical movement in your daily life. 

More than 80% of the jobs today are desk jobs. Thus, it has become challenging to stay active while working. 

However, I am not telling you to leave your work. But, finding a balance between your work and health is the need of the decade. It is crucial for your own well-being. 

Here are some ways you can incorporate in your life to become more active at work and reduce the impact of these sedentary lifestyle risks on your health :

  • If it is feasible in the office, have a standing desk.
  • Try to stand up after sitting for 30 minutes continuously.
  • Do some stretching at your desk.
  • Instead of asking for delivery of tea/ coffee at your desk, walk through the cafeteria 
  • Have your lunch not on your desk but at some other place. If possible, go for a quick 10-minute walk during the lunch break
  • Try to take stairs instead of lifts and elevators.
  • Use adjustable chairs and a laptop stand to maintain the posture.
  • You can make a group in the office to go for treks, cycling sprints, or any other activity.




How to Beat these Sedentary lifestyle risks as a Remote Worker? 

Remote work has gradually taken over the workplace dynamics and it has become an important part of the whole work culture. 

The work-from-home culture has led many towards more and more sedentary lifestyle risks. For people who can afford helpers at home, it is a blessing. I am not against it. It is the need of the hour due to an increase in work-life pressures. But it is also making you more and more inactive.

Mothers, single parents, caretakers, etc. involved in caring for children and family, mostly don’t get time to be involved in any sort of physical activity. 

Here are some ways to be more active at home:

  • If you are on a phone call, use this time to stand up and walk.
  • Whenever you get the time, go for local shopping groceries instead of ordering online.
  • If you get a break of 30-40 minutes from work or house chores, open a workout video and start doing the workout. 
  • While cutting veggies or folding clothes, don’t sit get up and do the task.
  • People doing work from home can get involved in activities like gardening and housework whenever they get the time.
  • If you have time to cook, try to avoid online ordering of food. 
  • If you don’t have the time to go outside as it is too far or you have small kids at home, join online yoga or aerobic classes.
  • Invest in an Ergonomic Work setup if you are working from home to maintain correct posture and minimize strain on neck and back




Conclusion

Leading a sedentary lifestyle comes with loads of health risks that can have severe consequences on your physical as well as mental health. From obesity and heart disease to decreased fertility and lowered life expectancy, these sedentary lifestyle risks cannot be taken lightly. 

By incorporating regular physical activity and mobility in your daily routine you can minimize these sedentary lifestyle risks on your health. 

The key is to make conscious efforts to move more throughout the day and be willing to work towards improving your overall health and well-being. 

So, what you are waiting for? Don’t wait for tomorrow, start now.

You don’t need to take big steps. Start small by going for a walk and slowly build the momentum.

You will thank yourself later for starting now.

 

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