A sedentary or inactive lifestyle is a lifestyle with a lot of sitting and lying down, with very little to no exercise. It can be defined as a type of lifestyle where an individual does not receive regular amounts of physical activity.
In this context, physical inactivity is considered the failure to meet the standard or recommendations set by the Center for Disease Control (CDC), which states that an individual should participate in a minimum of 150 minutes of moderate exercise or 75 minutes of a more vigorous regimen.
Most health professionals are also in agreement that walking approximately 5 miles is the ideal goal to set for improving health and reducing the health risks caused by inactivity.
All over the world, people are spending more and more time doing sedentary activities. During our leisure time, we are often sitting, watching TV, or playing video games.
Even while working using a computer or other device, we still sit, and many of our jobs have become more sedentary, with long days of sitting at a desk. Even the way most of us get around involves sitting in cars, on buses, and on trains.
How Does An Inactive Lifestyle Affect Your Body?
- When you have an inactive lifestyle, you burn fewer calories, and that makes you more likely to gain weight and to lose muscle strength and endurance, since you are not using your muscles as much, and your bones may get weaker and lose some mineral content.
- Furthermore, your metabolism may be affected, and your body may have more trouble breaking down fats and sugars
- Your immune system may not work as well, and you may have poorer blood circulation. Your body may have more inflammation, and you may develop a hormonal imbalance.
The Health Risks Of An Inactive Lifestyle
Having an inactive lifestyle can be one of the causes of many chronic diseases like:
- Heart diseases (coronary artery disease and heart attack)
- High blood pressure
- Cancers (colon, breast, and uterine cancers)
- Osteoporosis and falls
- High cholesterol
- Metabolic syndrome
- Increased feelings of depression and anxiety
- Type 2 diabetes
- A decrease in skeletal muscle mass.
Having a sedentary lifestyle can also raise your risk of premature death, and physical inactivity has been shown to contribute to high blood pressure and elevated cholesterol levels.
Sedentary Lifestyle Solutions
Simply by swapping out your chair for a treadmill desk or bike desk a few hours a day, you can significantly reduce the effects caused by sedentary lifestyle or inactivity.
If you have been inactive, you may need to start slowly and keep adding more exercise gradually. The general rule is that the more you can do the better.
Getting some exercise is always better than getting none and you will eventually be able to get the recommended amount of exercise for your age and health.
There are many different types of exercise, and it is important to find the types of exercise that best suit you. You can also try to add more physical activity to your life in smaller ways, such as at home and at work.
There are some ways you can be active, in or around your house; Housework, gardening, and yard work are all physical work, and you could try doing them at a more vigorous pace to increase the intensity.
Keep moving while you watch TV, lift hand weights, do some gentle yoga stretches, pedal an exercise bike, work out at home with a workout video, go for a walk in your neighborhood, etc…
It can be more fun if you walk your dog, walk your kids to school, or walk with a friend, and get some exercise equipment for your home.
In fact, less than 20 percent of Americans have physically active jobs, and most of us sit when we are working. It can be challenging to fit physical activity into your busy workday, but here are some tips to help you:
- Get up from your chair and move around once an hour
- Stand when you are talking on the phone, and find out if you can get a stand-up or treadmill desk at your workplace.
- Take the stairs instead of the elevator, and use part of your break to walk around the building
- Walk to a colleague’s office instead of sending an email, and have standing meetings with co-workers instead of sitting in a conference room.