If you find yourself stuck behind a desk or sitting on your couch for much of your day, you are not alone. According to the World Health Organization, one in four adults are not moving enough – which becomes more alarming after a study from the University of Cambridge found that staying seated can be just as dangerous as being obese. The effects of a sedentary lifestyle go beyond just hurting your health as there are many surprising dangers to living a seated life.
An individual is living a sedentary lifestyle if they are not receiving regular amounts of physical activity. Around the world, people are spending more and more time performing sedentary activities. The main contributing factor to our increasingly inactive lifestyle at is technology. Our leisurely activities, including using a computer, watching TV, or playing video games, including sitting.
Furthermore, according to the American Heart Association, sedentary jobs have increased 83 percent since 1950. We’re also spending more time at work, and even our commutes include sitting. Technology has caused more inactive methods of transit, caused an increase in sedentary jobs and has developed more activities that can be done while sitting.
Living a sedentary lifestyle has many adverse health effects. Inactivity can cause many chronic diseases and increase your risk of obesity, heart disease, high blood pressure, type two diabetes, cancers, and more. Additionally, bones, like muscles, require regular exercise to maintain their mineral content and strength. Bone loss progresses much faster in people who are physically inactive.
Other, less obvious, effects of a sedentary lifestyle include an increased risk of depression, dementia, erectile dysfunction, and sleeplessness. According to a study from BMC Public Health, you are more likely to feel moderate psychological distress, including stress, anxiety, nervousness, and more. What’s more, recent research shows that cardio can increase your mood just as effectively as prescribed antidepressants. A sedentary lifestyle also increases your chance of developing dementia. New research from the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease found older adults who are sedentary may be just as prone to develop dementia as people who are genetically predisposed to the condition.
Males who live an inactive lifestyle also increase their risk of erectile dysfunction. Researchers from the Cedars-Sinai Medical Center found that active men had greater sexual function scores than men who recorded lower levels of physical activity. Lastly, exercising at least 150 minutes a week can improve the quality of your sleep, according to a study published in Mental Health and Physical Activity.
Living an active lifestyle will not only better your health, but it will make you feel better. Living a sedentary lifestyle is dangerous and can have adverse effects on your health. Regular exercise is essential for a healthy lifestyle, but it is equally important to be more active throughout the day. One easy way to become more active is by getting up move around every hour.
Mitra Rangarajan is an expert in the healthcare field and strives to empower patients to take charge of their health and safety. Read more on her patient safety research here!