This article aims to highlight how it has become a common sight to see people leading a sedentary lifestyle these days. What are some of the negative impacts of leading a sedentary lifestyle and how it affects one’s physical and mental health? We will also take a look at things we can do to reduce the negative impacts of an inactive lifestyle.
A sedentary lifestyle is one in which an individual has little to no physical activity and spends a lot of their time sitting or lying down. This kind of inactive lifestyle has become a common sight in the recent past, as technology has made it easier for people to work and communicate remotely.
Most office jobs are desk jobs and don’t require people to move around much. Employees spend a large part of their day sitting and working on their laptops and computers. Even entertainment options have become more readily available; people can watch a plethora of movies, and TV shows and surf the internet from the comfort of their homes.
In 2014, the Global Summit on Physical Activity of Children revealed that several countries, including Canada, Scotland, and Nigeria, were not meeting the recommended guidelines for screen time for children under the age of 17, which is less than 2 hours per day.
While the internet and technology have made our lives more convenient and comfortable, leading a sedentary lifestyle can have serious consequences and can negatively impact a person’s health.
One of the most significant risks associated with an inactive lifestyle is obesity. When a person is not engaging in regular physical activity, their body is not burning calories at the same rate as it would if they were more active. This can lead to weight gain and an increased risk of obesity, which in turn increases the risk of a number of other health problems, including type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and certain types of cancer.
Some other risks of leading a sedentary lifestyle include the development of chronic health conditions such as high blood pressure and high cholesterol. These conditions can be caused by a combination of factors, including a lack of physical activity and an unhealthy diet. They can also lead to the development of other serious health problems, such as heart disease and stroke.
In fact, in a study by Inyang and Okey-Orji in 2015, it was highlighted that prolonged sedentary behaviour can lead to deficiencies in vitamins, which can further progress into serious diseases such as bone diseases, organ malfunctions, osteoarthritis, and heart failure.
A sedentary lifestyle can also have negative impacts on the mental health of an individual. Various studies have found that people who lead sedentary lives are at an increased risk of developing depression, cognitive decline, and anxiety. And the decline in cognitive function can further decrease an individual's ability to perform daily tasks and activities, leading to a decline in overall quality of life.
This may be due to the fact that regular physical activity has been shown to release endorphins, which are chemicals in the brain that can help to improve mood. Additionally, a sedentary lifestyle can contribute to feelings of isolation and loneliness, which can worsen mental health problems.
In addition to the negative health effects, such a lifestyle can affect an individual's quality of life in various ways. People who lead sedentary lives may find that they have less energy and stamina, which can make it difficult for them to participate in activities they once enjoyed, such as sports, exercise, and outdoor recreation. This can lead to a loss of interest in these activities and a decrease in overall physical fitness.
There are various things that people can do to combat the negative effects of a sedentary lifestyle, and it's important to incorporate regular physical activity into your daily routine. Even small changes, such as taking the stairs instead of the elevator, going for a short walk after meals, taking phone calls outside and walking around during the call, or standing up and stretching every hour, can make a huge difference.
Furthermore, it is important to make sure to eat a healthy and balanced diet. This can help to ensure that a person is getting all of the nutrients they need to maintain a healthy weight and reduce the risk of developing chronic health conditions. Additionally, it is important to try to get enough sleep each night, as a lack of sleep can contribute to feelings of fatigue and can make it more difficult to stick to a healthy lifestyle.
In conclusion, a sedentary lifestyle is one characterized by little or no physical activity. While it may seem convenient and comfortable, it can have serious negative impacts on a person's health, including an increased risk of obesity, chronic health conditions, and mental health problems.
Additionally, making an effort to sit less and move more throughout the day can help to improve overall health and well-being. To reduce the negative impacts of a sedentary lifestyle, it is important to make sure to get regular physical activity, eat a healthy diet, and get enough sleep. By taking these steps, people can improve their overall health and quality of life.
"Sitting is the new smoking" ~ Dr. James Levine
This quote emphasizes the negative impact of a sedentary lifestyle on health, drawing a comparison between prolonged sitting and the health risks associated with smoking. It highlights the need for individuals to be aware of the negative effects of prolonged sitting and to take steps to reduce the amount of time spent sitting and increase physical activity in their daily lives.
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