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One of the leading health concerns that lead to some other preventable health problems is living a sedentary lifestyle. An average human needs at least 30 minutes of intentional exercise per day to stay active, and not considered sedentary. In this modern age, where people get things done with little or no physical activity involvement, a new developmental age is gradually evolving, and leaning towards the actualisation of Artificial Intelligence (AI) performing human tasks with not much interference. Physical inactivity (sedentary lifestyle) can have serious implications for people’s health, said the World Health Organization on the occasion of World Health Day. Approximately 2 million deaths per year are attributed to physical inactivity, prompting WHO to issue a warning that a sedentary lifestyle could very well be among the 10 leading causes of death and disability in the world. This is fast becoming a major public health concern for health experts around the world, as this is one of the neglected issues that immediate health intervention.
PHYSICAL INACTIVITY AND SEDENTARY LIFESTYLE
Many people oftentimes do not understand that being physically inactive is different from leading a sedentary lifestyle, being physically inactive means not doing enough much much-needed physical activity. However, being sedentary means sitting or lying down for long periods with little or no physical movement or activity. Physical activity and sedentary cannot be used interchangeably, they are two different behaviors that are not the opposite of each other. Individuals are considered to be active when they reach the appropriate level of physical activity recommendations for their age, which does not prevent them from also devoting a significant part of their time to sedentary behaviors. In other words, individuals can be classified as both active and sedentary.
According to the lifestyle researchers over at findithealth.com; sedentary lifestyles increase all causes of mortality, also double the risk of cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, and obesity, and increase the risks of colon cancer, high blood pressure, osteoporosis, lipid disorders, depression, and anxiety. According to WHO, 60 to 85% of people in the world, from both developed and developing countries, lead sedentary lifestyles, making it one of the more serious yet inadequately addressed public health problems of this modern age of technological inventions. It is estimated that nearly two-thirds of children are also insufficiently active, with serious implications for their future health.
How do I know if I am sedentary?
Many people are always puzzled whenever they ask this question; this is because some people still don’t understand the distinct difference between leading a sedentary lifestyle and physical activity. The answer to the said question cannot be easily ascertained by just saying Yes/No to some Q&As. “Count the number of hours you sleep and then subtract that from 24 hours,” says Suzanne Steinbaum, MD, a preventive cardiologist, founder of SRSHeart Center for Women’s Prevention, Health and Wellness, and a Peloton Health & Wellness Advisory Council member. “That number is the number of hours in the day you have to live, to move, to be active, and to be engaged. So if you spend more than 50 percent of that time sitting, reclining, and not moving, it’s important to find ways to change this.” This statement is stressing the importance of engaging in physical activities that helps the body function, and not only exercise-related activities alone.
There are, however, some contributing factors that can accelerate the negative effects of leading a sedentary lifestyle, and can also serve as warning signs. You should pay close attention to these health concerns:
- Heart problem – A lack of blood circulation resulting from an inactive lifestyle has a high of causing heart problems in people.
- Deteriorating cardiac health – Physical inactivity can result in poor cardiac health. This is a result of poor blood circulation and can place an individual at a high risk of contracting various lifestyle diseases.
- Tiredness & fatigue – People who are severely inactive physically become fatigued and start to feel tired most of the time. This is because their muscles are not moving, and it grows weaker with time.
- Sleeping disorders – The sleeping patterns of inactive people become unpredictable over time, which results in not only having difficulty in falling asleep but also experiencing poor quality of sleep. In some cases, it even leads to insomnia. Naturally, upon waking up from sleep, these people may not feel rested or relaxed.
- Metabolism changes – Physical inactivity impair metabolic function and alter the expression of key genes within adipose tissue.
The best way to keep watch of the negative warning signs of leading a sedentary lifestyle is to simply keep being physically active, and make some positive lifestyle adjustments. Physical inactivity can be voluntary, and also be spontaneous on some people by an unforeseen event such as a severed arm or leg or becoming bed-ridden due to illness. However, little or lack of physical activity, such as step reduction, is a long-term choice that brings about multiple negative health consequences.