5 Ways A Sedentary Lifestyle Is Harming You
We all know that spending hours a day sitting still at our desks, followed by more sitting in the car or on public transportation, followed by couch surfing at home in front of the television is slowly, but surely, ruining our backs. However, the harmful effects of physical inactivity are actually much further reaching than just nagging back pain. Sedentary lifestyles have been shown to promote some long-term health consequences which are a great deal more serious, and can lead to problems such as “sitting disease” – a term used to describe the health effects that result from inactivity. Sitting disease results from hours spent without engaging your body’s vital systems, leading to more serious health problems.
Below are 5 ways that a sedentary lifestyle is harming your long-term health.
- Increased risk of high blood pressure, heart disease, and diabetes.
A February 2013 survey of over 63,000 middle-aged Australian men found that those who sat still for more than four hours a day were at a far greater risk of developing long-term chronic illnesses such as high blood pressure, heart disease, and diabetes.
- Reduced life expectancy.
A 2012 study in the British Medical Journal found that by simply reducing the amount of time spent sitting statically each day to no more than 2 to 3 hours, the average life expectancy in the United States could increase by around two years.
- Kidney disease.
A analysis of a 2012 self-reported survey of over 6,300 respondents between the ages of 40 and 75 found that, even when accounting for physical activities and body mass index, people who spent less time sitting still, in general, were at a lowered risk of developing chronic kidney disease.
- Poor mental health.
An April 2012 self-reported study of 3,500 people in the journal of The Annals of Behavioural Medicine found there was reason to believe that a strong correlation existed between mental health and the amount of time spent sitting statically on a daily basis.
- Increased risk of colorectal cancer.
A 2013 study in the journal of Clinical Oncology found that people both pre and post cancer diagnosis who more time spent sitting still had an increased risk of death. The self-reported study of 2,000 patients with colorectal cancer, which monitored patients for 16 years, indicated that those with a more active lifestyle were 28% less likely to die than those who did not.
The bottom line is: human beings were meant to remain active and moving throughout the day. Our bodies require constant physical stimulation if they are to remain healthy. Sitting still, along with potentially ruining your back, is capable of bringing along with it some very nasty long-term chronic and terminal illnesses. The World Health Organization lists the many benefits of physical activity as muscular and cardiovascular health, improved bone health, reduced risk of hypertension, heart disease, stroke, diabetes and cancer and increased energy, among others.
If you are nervous that you are physically inactive for much of the day and need a reason to change your habits, keep in mind the above risks and make intentional choices to be more active. Participate in fun recreational activities with your family, use an active sitting chair at work, or consider hiring a personal trainer to keep you on the right track.