As we all have studied in physics “An object will stay in rest unless an external force is applied on it and an object will stay in motion unless an external force is applied on it.” The same applies for us humans with our habits and behavior. We humans rely on our habits to continue with our lives; and these habits can help us or be a barrier for our growth. The habit of sedentary lifestyle is one such habit that inhibits our growth and deteriorates our health. It is high time we raise awareness about this hidden disease.
Developing Good Habits
Hormones play a huge role in the formation of habits. For example when runners get up day and again at 5 in the morning and go for jogging, their endocrine system releases endorphins, which cause a feeling of high, this is called as “runner’s high” in the exercise world.(1,2) It’s well known that endorphins directly affect our brain. The average time to form a habit is 21 to 66 days and it is subjective to change from person to person.(3,4) Some people form a habit quicker than the rest; whereas, others may struggle to do so. Either way, once a habit is formed, it becomes real hard to break or change it and this may be both good and bad. When speaking in terms of ditching sedentary lifestyle and starting with a more active life then it is definitely a good thing!
The famous expression says “A rolling stone gathers no moss” if the rock stays in one place then the forces of nature will relentlessly form a layer of moss over it, but if the rock were to constantly move like being carried away in a river, then mother nature will have no chance to gather the moss on the rock. The same goes for us humans. Anything sedentary is bad and the habit of sedentary lifestyle is one tough nut to crack. You don’t have to transform yourself into someone like Usain Bolt to break away from this sedentary lifestyle.
6 ILL Effects of Sedentary Lifestyle
Some harmful effects and consequences of a sedentary lifestyle are listed below.
Obesity & Health Issues
The polar antonym of sedentary is active. What are the consequences of inactivity? Being sedentary affects our weight, which has its own set of nasty problems.(5,6,7) Sedentary lifestyle has health risks like diabetes, obesity, heart disease and high blood pressure.(7,8,9) Being obese will restrict your blood vessels and it will make the task of the heart to pump blood much harder. Heart is like a muscle and if it is not used, it becomes weak.
Loss Of Flexibility & Decreased Blood Flow (9)
Our body loses flexibility and it becomes stiff, as a result of sedentary lifestyle, which isn’t a good thing. Blood flow is sluggish through uptight and bound muscles from inactivity. The more you sit and not use your muscles, the glutes, hip muscles and other muscles become tight. Your abs and hip flexors too take a toll.
Pain & Inflammation (9)
Pain and inflammation follow up in our system due to lack of exercise and is also one of another consequence of this deadly habit of sedentary lifestyle.
Sluggish Metabolism (10)
Metabolism is the process by which our body burns the food we eat and drink into energy and the rate at which our body conducts metabolism is called metabolic rate. Sedentary lifestyle impacts our metabolism leading to decreased energy levels thus making us feel lethargic.(11)
Negative Impact On Mental Health (12)
Even our mental health isn’t safe from the harm caused by sedentary lifestyle. The chances of getting dementia, depression and anxiety increases when one tend to stay in the comforts of their home with minimal exercise.(12) Lack of moving has a direct linkage to the mental state of our mind than most of us realize; it is more so in the cases of elderly. We don’t have to wait to become old and then feel the negative effects of sedentary lifestyle on our minds.
Deteriorating Bone Health (13)
God designed our bones, muscles and our body in general to be moved and not staying in one place. Bones by nature are made to bear the tremendous load of our body and to give us rigidity and posture. Not moving and leading a sedentary lifestyle will lead to a deadly disease of the bones called osteoporosis. Osteoporosis is a condition where bones become weak and brittle.
How To Combat The Ill Effects Of A Sedentary Lifestyle?
Apart from all the ill effects let’s talk about the preventive measures we can take to escape this rapidly spreading disease of sedentary lifestyle. We can’t go on moving all day and neither can we sit in a corner with little to no movement. Everything should be in equilibrium. Unless the environment you live in is conducive to keep you sufficiently active, it will be tough. We all have a choice and it is better for all of us to choose good habits.
- Stop using elevator and start taking the stairs.
- At work, take breaks from sitting at your desk and try standing in these breaks to stretch your legs.
- Try parking your vehicle away from the door where you work so you can take a short walk to your workplace.
- Walk to and fro while on a phone call instead of sitting and talking.
- Include exercise and stretching in your daily schedule.