Living a sedentary lifestyle is characterized by sitting or lying down for extended periods of time each day over a significant period of time. It has become commonplace as technological advances have enabled us to spend more and more time on our devices instead of engaging in physical activities. It can lead to many health-related issues and increase the risk for premature death. In this article, we will explore the causes, risks, and ways to stay active associated with sedentary lifestyles.
What Causes A Sedentary Lifestyle
There are many causes of sedentary lifestyles. Here are just a few:
• Lack of physical activity: Individuals who do not move enough in physical activities may adopt a sedentary lifestyle over time. Some individuals may be discouraged by the time, effort, or immediate successes of exercising and choose to be inactive.
• Work: People who work in office jobs or jobs that involve a lot of sitting are more prone to developing a sedentary lifestyle if they spend too much time sitting at work.
• Technology: Technology has increased the amount of distractions that people face. Many people are constantly looking at their laptop or cell phone, or playing video games, instead of participating in physical activities such as exercising or playing sports.
• Economic environment: People living in poverty-stricken communities may find themselves unable to pay for a gym membership or access to other recreational activities.
Risks of A Sedentary Lifestyle
The risks of choosing a sedentary lifestyle are numerous and range from the physical to psychological. Here are some risks associated with a sedentary lifestyle:
• Physical health risks: Studies have shown that sedentary lifestyles increase the risk for stroke, diabetes, heart disease, and hypertension. Additionally, when you lead a sedentary lifestyle, you are more likely to become obese as well as gain excess pounds.
• Mental health risks: Individuals who have adopted sedentary lifestyles are often at a greater risk for developing anxiety and depression. As previously mentioned, spending too much time on devices can lead to mental health problems.
• Cognitive function risks: With lack of physical activity, the ability to think and remember can become impaired.
• Injury risks: When someone leads a sedentary lifestyle, they are at a greater risk of suffering an injury due to their inactive lifestyle. Additionally, joint pain and back pain become more common experienced with sedentary lifestyles.
Ways to Stay Active
Fortunately, staying active is possible, regardless of life circumstances. Here are some ways to stay active when faced with a sedentary lifestyle:
• Make physical activity part of your routine: Make physical activity a regular part of your day-to-day routine. It doesn’t have to become a chore, it can be enjoyable! Choose activities that you actually like.
• Get up and move: Set reminders on your phone or watch to remind you to get up and move. Every hour or so, get up and move around or do simple exercises such as jumping jacks or squats for a few minutes.
• Incorporate exercises at work: If you have a desk job, make changes such as buying an adjustable standing desk or taking frequent walk breaks to move around.
• Switch toscreen-free activities: Switch from screen-related activities to screen-free activities such as biking, running, swimming, playing sports, or walking.
• Seek support: Ask friend or families to join you when doing physical activity.
• Take advantage of public spots: Take advantage of public sports facilities or nearby gyms.
• Find a physical activity buddy: Find a physical activity buddy, such as a friend or family member, and make physical activities into a social activity.
A sedentary lifestyle can lead to many physical and mental health risks and can put an individual at risk for premature death. However, there are ways to stay active and reduce these risks. Taking small steps such as making physical activity part of your routine, getting up and moving every hour, and switching to screen-free activities can have a big change in reducing the risks associated with sedentary lifestyles.