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Sedentary Lifestyle - Complications and Prevention Strategies

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A sedentary lifestyle causes many complications in life. Read the article to learn about the prevention of a sedentary lifestyle.

Medically reviewed by

Dr. Nagaraj

Published At February 24, 2023
Reviewed AtFebruary 24, 2023

Introduction

A sedentary lifestyle has many negative health consequences, including an increased risk of diabetes, heart disease, and even cancer. Therefore, it is important to counteract a sedentary lifestyle to stay healthy and fit. From simple lifestyle changes to more intensive fitness regimes, people can do plenty of things to get more active. However, figuring out the best way for an individual can be overwhelming. For this reason, people require guidance to find the right balance between physical activity and well-deserved rest.

What Is a Sedentary Lifestyle?

Being sedentary (not getting enough physical activity) is common in today's world of remote working and worldwide lockdowns. Prolonged periods of inactivity can lead to many health issues, including an increased risk of cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and other conditions. So, it is important to take action now to combat sedentary lifestyle patterns and stay healthy.

From making small changes in their daily routine to finding ways to be more physically active indoors, people have plenty of opportunities to kick-start their journey toward a healthier lifestyle.

What Are the Complications of the Sedentary Lifestyle?

A sedentary lifestyle has far-reaching implications for health and well-being. It can cause obesity, diabetes, and heart disease. Moreover, it can lead to depression, stress, and anxiety. For example, studies have shown that sitting eight hours a day makes people 54 % more likely to suffer from depression and 44 % more likely to suffer anxiety.

Just as poor diet and lack of physical activity can take a toll on health over time, so do the consequences of being sedentary, from increased blood pressure to a weakened immune system. Regular exercise has been shown to reduce cardiovascular mortality by up to 40 %, making it the fourth most common cause of death worldwide.

Lack of physical activity can negatively impact mental health and energy levels, creating a vicious cycle of inactivity. All these factors contribute to the deterioration of the overall quality of life.

What Are the Prevention and Treatment Strategies?

If sitting for a long time in an office or at home is a practice, it is time to get up and move. Following are some tips to help people combat a sedentary lifestyle:

Prevention Strategies

  • Taking regular breaks during the day – Even a few minutes away from the screen can do wonders.

  • Switch the normal chair for a standing desk or an adjustable chair that allows moving the body accordingly.

  • Move around as much as possible – Take a walk during your lunch break, take the stairs rather than the elevator, and park further away from the destination.

Treatment Strategies

  • Being Physically Active is Key: Regular physical activity will help strengthen muscles, joints, and bones, improve circulation, and reduce stress levels.

  • Stay Hydrated Throughout the Day: Drinking plenty of water will keep the energy levels up and prevent fatigue.

  • Improve Posture: Good postures help reduce tension in the neck and shoulders which can often be caused by sitting for too long.

People can begin to combat the effects of a sedentary lifestyle and make positive changes to their lives by acting now.

What Are the Tips and Tricks to Stay Active?

It can be hard to stay active and combat a sedentary lifestyle, but there are simple ways to get moving. These tips and tricks should help people incorporate more activity into their daily routine, making it easier and more enjoyable.

1) Take Mini-Movement Breaks: Taking short, frequent breaks throughout the day is a great way to increase activity levels; this could include going for a short walk outside (even if it is just around the block), doing a few minutes of stretches, or even dancing to some favorite music. These mini-movement breaks will help keep people energized and focused throughout the day.

2) Schedule Regular Physical Activities: Planning physical activities ahead of time makes it easier to stick with them. So whether people want to join an exercise club or sign up for group sports leagues, scheduling in advance can help ensure they stay active. And if someone does not feel like joining a group, try workout videos at home or outdoor activities like bike rides.

3) Incorporate Activity into Everyday Tasks: People can also incorporate activities into everyday tasks like errands or household chores. For example, instead of taking public transportation for short trips, they should consider walking instead. They can also choose to take the stairs instead of elevators or escalators, and these small changes can go a long way toward boosting their overall activity levels.

4) Building an Exercise Routine: A regular exercise routine is a great way to combat a sedentary lifestyle. But, like any new habit, establishing an exercise routine takes time and effort. Nevertheless, it is worth the effort because of its benefits, and here are some tips to help people get started.

  • Start Small: It is important to start small and gradually increase the routine over time. That way, people are likely to be able to handle their challenges. People should start with something they enjoy doing, like jogging or dancing, and remember that any form of movement helps.
  • Track the Progress: Monitoring and tracking the progress can be a helpful way to stay motivated and inspired. By accessing the data, people can see how far they have come and identify which areas need more improvement. People can do this by tracking their daily steps or using fitness apps or wearables that track their activity levels and heart rate.
  • Exercise With Friends: Having friends join the active journey gives people support and helps keep things fun. Friends can motivate each other and get creative with new activities like biking or hiking in nature. By making small daily changes, like taking the stairs instead of the elevator or walking instead of driving to nearby places, people can slowly build up healthy habits that make it easier for them to stay active in the long run.

Conclusion

Simply recognizing the dangers of a sedentary lifestyle is the first step. However, an active lifestyle is essential to overall health and well-being and can be achieved in various ways. By incorporating regular exercise and physical activity into everyday life, individuals can effectively combat the sedentary lifestyle and remain healthier and more active. Additionally, individuals can make simple lifestyle changes such as standing more, taking walks, and using standing desks to move around more and become less sedentary. With these tips and tricks to keep active, individuals can easily combat the sedentary lifestyle and live healthier and more productive lives.

Frequently Asked Questions

1.

Provide Some Examples of a Sedentary Lifestyle.

A sedentary lifestyle involves sitting in a chair all day, walking very little, and using an automobile to get around everywhere. Sitting in front of a computer or television screen for too long, playing video games, playing board games, passively commuting (using cars), and talking or texting for hours on the phone, are some examples of a sedentary lifestyle. These habits can cause serious health issues.

2.

Is a Sedentary Lifestyle Considered Healthy?

A sedentary lifestyle includes very little physical activity. Having a sedentary lifestyle without getting regular exercise can cause chronic health conditions. Obesity, heart disease, stroke, diabetes, cholesterol, osteoporosis, and depression, are some serious health conditions that occur due to a sedentary lifestyle.

3.

Whether Walking 3000 Steps Sedentary?

The individual step goal should be based on the individual's activity levels and overall health.
Ideally, reaching 10,000 steps each day for healthy adults is considered more active and reduces health-associated risks. Also, less than 5000 steps are considered sedentary.

4.

How Can a Person Evaluate If He/She Is Having a Sedentary Lifestyle?

If a person spends more hours at a desk with little or no exercise or leads a life with no physical activity, then they are considered sedentary. 
Some signs of a sedentary lifestyle are:
- Feeling tired.
- Difficulty sleeping.
- Obesity.
- Stiff joints.
- Gastrointestinal problems like constipation.
- Depression.

5.

Which Age Group People Are More Sedentary?

In general, people over 60 have health issues that can lead to restrictions on movement and make them lead a sedentary life. However, these days, by age 19, many individuals are leading a sedentary lifestyle as they approach 60 due to advancements in technology. Such as the use of laptops, and mobile phones, and reduced physical activity.

6.

Explain the Seven Dangers of Leading a Sedentary Lifestyle.

Leading a sedentary lifestyle can cause several health issues, such as
- Heart diseases.
- Stroke.
- High blood pressure.
- High cholesterol.
- Obesity.
- Metabolic syndrome.
- Type 2 diabetes.
- Osteoporosis.
- Certain cancers, such as breast, uterine, and colon cancers.
- Depression and anxiety.

7.

How to Overcome a Sedentary Lifestyle?

If an individual should combat a sedentary lifestyle, then some conscious changes should be included in their day-to-day lives, like,
- Walking more than at least 30 minutes a day.
- Standing up straight whenever possible.
- Avoid elevators and escalators and try to climb the stairs.
- Try to do your own household chores, like sweeping the floors, organizing the closet, etc.
- Walk for five minutes every two hours. Also, walk during phone calls and march while watching TV.
- Try doing exercises. There are also many exercises that can be done at the convenience of the desk without any exercise equipment.

8.

What Is the Life Expectancy of Sedentary People?

Sitting for long periods of time or being physically inactive has been associated with health risk factors such as obesity, cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, depression, and death. Regular, moderate activities, such as brisk walking, cycling, etc., have been shown to increase life expectancy by several years.

9.

Is A Male or Female More Sedentary?

In recent studies conducted, it has been shown that a sedentary lifestyle is more prevalent in females (69 %) when compared to males (46 %). For both men and women, a greater proportion of time is spent sedentary during later hours of the day than earlier.

10.

How Many Steps a Day Are Required to Avoid a Sedentary Lifestyle?

It is recommended that 10,000 steps as a target for healthy adults to achieve health benefits. The following pedometer indices were developed to provide a guideline on activity levels:
- Sedentary - Less than 5,000 steps per day. 
- Low active - 5,000 to 7,499 steps per day.
- Moderately active - 7,500 to 9,999 steps per day.
- Active - More than 10,000 steps per day.
- Highly active - More than 12,500.

11.

Which Is the Most Sedentary Country?

Malta is an island situated in the Mediterranean Sea between North Africa and Europe and is considered the most sedentary country in the world. Because almost 72% of adults are physically inactive. Also, countries in the Middle East ranked high on sedentary lifestyles.
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Dr. Nagaraj
Dr. Nagaraj

Diabetology

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