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Health Risks of a Sedentary Lifestyle

Updated on March 18, 2015

What happens to the body if it’s inactive?

Absence of physical activity has unmistakably been proven to be a risk factor for heart disease and provoke other unwelcomed conditions in the body. Sedentary living increases your risk of developing high blood pressure, certain cancers, depression, anxiety and obesity. Does this sound inviting? NO, so start moving your body! The famous Jack Lalanne preached, “A sedentary lifestyle will kill you”. Not convinced yet or scared straight enough to move? Please look at more facts below.

7 More Negative Outcomes of a Sedentary Lifestyle

  1. Pulmonary embolism- this is a blood clot located in the lung. You will increase the risk of this happening to you if you remain still for long periods, especially women. Your blood needs to flow and when you move around you give your lungs and cells oxygen. Do you realize being a couch potato or bed hugger or a computer sitter makes the blood sluggish and therefore your body will not operate in its’ optimum capacity?
  2. Forgetfulness- this will happen if you do nothing with your body and it will directly affect the brain. The memory midpoint in the brain deteriorates as you age but being sedentary will progress the “senior-moments “in you just from being inactive. You need blood to flow to the brain too and moving around allows it to function better and protects you from obesity and diabetes which will debilitate you more.
  3. Diabetes type 2- obesity normally results from poor diet and lack of physical activity. Being active helps prevent insulin resistance, the primary cause of diabetes type 2 diabetes. Consuming excess sugar causes obesity and highly increases this disease. Most obese people aren’t moving around like they should which puts them even at a higher risk for Diabetes type 2. I also wrote an article about sugar and you can click here to understand what it is doing to your body. http://organicsusana.hubpages.com/hub/Ways-to-cut-sugar-out-of-your-diet
  4. Bone loss-The bones in your body will become weak and brittle when little physical activity is occurring in your life. You need to exercise and move around to sustain your bones vital mineral content plus its’ strength and power. Bone loss will progress a lot quicker to those who remain inactive.
  5. Loss of lean muscle tissue- The shortage of physical activity in your life no doubt escalates the loss of lean muscle tissue. You will get weak and flabby plus it also makes it more challenging to maintain your normal body weight. You need to move your body to get stronger so you can perform the necessary physical tasks in life.
  6. Impaired immune system-The immune system won’t work efficiently to fight off infections or ward off diseases if the body doesn’t move around enough to keep the blood circulating in an optimal manner. You must maintain regular physical activity to keep your immune system running in a competent and powerful mode. Your immune system is essential to good health so get up and move!
  7. High cholesterol- The more body fat the more fat in the blood and less HDL cholesterol( the good kind of cholesterol) you have when there are extended periods of inactivity other than night sleeping. Exercising will benefit your cholesterol levels. It will assist you to lower your LDL level, raise your HDL level, and lose weight.

On average, how many hours a day are you sitting?

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Any creative ideas that can help us move around more?

Yes, regardless if you are a busy person, college student or a desk worker It doesn’t matter (unless you’re an invalid), there are ways to move your body. Sitting for extended periods of time will absolutely wreak havoc on your system, so move it. Where there is a will there is a way, for your health depends on it.

  • Get a pedometer- A pedometer measures how many steps you make in a day. I’m sure you heard by now we should walk at least 10,000 steps daily (roughly 5 miles.) This is one the best goals to set for improving health and dropping the health risks that are directly caused by inactivity.
  • If you watch your favorite program on television make a pact with yourself that each and every commercial you will move your body. You could run up and down your steps, pace the floor, calisthenics, jump over throw pillows, march in place or jog around your living room. The point of this is to incorporate movement to the body preferably in standing up position. This gets you off your bum and causes the heart to start pumping better.
  • If you are a desk worker try to get up as much as the job will allow without getting in trouble. It’s preferable every hour to get up and move. Perhaps go walk to the copier machine and talk to a co-worker instead of emailing them or get a glass of water. If you are confined to your chair in a call center, then stand up and sit down and do this in repetition for 5-10 minutes every hour if possible. It may look silly, but once you explain you are moving your body so it doesn’t get stagnant, they will understand and maybe even emulate your behavior. If there is an upper level bathroom, go to the bathroom up the steps (not elevator) instead of using the one on your level. Of course truck and cab drivers will have the most difficulty walking around so they must incorporate this once they stop for gas or on a stop. These are just suggestions so implement what suits you and your job but be creative and move your body. Don’t forget if you get a lunch break, after eating, take a 15-30 minute brisk walk, for this will do wonders for productivity and you will feel invigorated.
  • If you are a busy parent and have little ones, be happy when you have to chase your child up the steps, for you are getting exercise. Walk as much as possible so maybe take your child in the stroller for walks or go to the park. Running the vacuum, getting the laundry, fetching for a diaper or wipes, or making dinner are all great things for your body. Your body is in an upright position and on your feet moving, that’s what the body needs. Try to smile knowing you are getting much needed exercise even though you might feel tired and overwhelmed.
  • When you are brushing your teeth, march in place.
  • When you are heating up something in the microwave instead of standing there waiting, march in place or walk from room to room.
  • When you are online, stop every hour for 5-10minutes and walk to another room to do a task, or get a drink of water. In other words, just do something that requires you to stand and move around.
  • When talking on the phone at home, don’t sit as you talk, get up and pace and walk around your home.

It has been said those who sit more than 5 hours a day increase their risks of chronic disease and premature death. Let’s help one another get healthy and remind ourselves and loved ones to move the body and be active!

Disclaimer:

Please note that I am not a medical doctor so I cannot offer medical advice nor diagnose or cure, please always consult your physician when in question. However I’m happy to offer you suggestions for possible enhancements to your health per my research and what I have learned as a Health Coach. I want to educate you the best possible way so you can be equipped with superlative information and make healthy decisions for yourself as you see fit, for this is my sole purpose.

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    • Organic Susana profile image
      Author

      Susana Danielle 2 years ago from Newark, DE

      Hello Gail...Wow...thanks for the encouraging words!--Sure hope this helps you sister! Our bodies were made to move and if you don't use it we lose it. I really appreciate you taking time out to comment. Perhaps pass on my other articles as well to see if they will help her out. Have a Happy Healthy Day Gail!

    • profile image

      GAIL 2 years ago

      I re-read this info and gave to my sister. This lifestyle is exactly how she lives! hoping it motivates her to get moving. Thanks for all that you do to make a difference in the health field. Impowering!

    • Organic Susana profile image
      Author

      Susana Danielle 3 years ago from Newark, DE

      Thanks Doug for taking time out to comment! Wow what a great testimonial! I love to see people like you being proactive in maintaining a healthy life! You are so right, it's not easy to stay fit, you made it your choice to stay fit by moving and not being sedentary! It's not only genetics like you stated, a lot of it's the lifestyle choices that people make. It will ultimately make them unhealthy or healthy, it's their choice! Keep up the good work, I'm sure whether you realize it or not, your example of how you live will rub off on some not all but some co-workers, family and friends, just keep doing it! Have a Happy Healthy Day Doug!

    • Doug Bellamy profile image

      Doug Bellamy 3 years ago from Woodville, Texas

      Great article. Far too many Americans, at least, think they can sit on their butt for hours each day and suffer no ill effects. At 64, I take no prescription drugs and am always looking info to stay healthy. I always surprised that even all my un healthy and out of shape family and friends never ask my how have I done this. Many want to think it is genetics or luck. Not true, and I have begun replying to the few that make comments that this has taken a huge dedication and work for the past 40 years. I am in better health than most Americans over 30, which is a sad statement about those people.

    • Organic Susana profile image
      Author

      Susana Danielle 3 years ago from Newark, DE

      Hello Gail and thank you for responding! So glad the article helped you! It's great to see that you will incorporate this into your daily routine. Thanks again and Have a Happy Healthy Day!

    • profile image

      Gail 3 years ago

      Genius! Easy to do and include in my daily routine! Thanks

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