A sedentary lifestyle is simply an inactive lifestyle; One with very little to no physical activity. This may involve sitting or lying down for too long. According to the World Health Organization, more than 80% of the world’s adolescent population is insufficiently physically active. 

Thanks to technology and entertainment, life has been made a lot much ‘’easier” where many things can be done while sitting or lying down. We often sit while on our mobile phones, at the movies, playing video games, watching TV, and surfing the internet. When we work, we often sit behind the desk for long hours on our computers; and even when we need to move around, we have to sit on buses, trains, plane, etc hence, suffice it to say that the world has now been programmed to be sedentary. 

Physical inactivity is the fourth known leading risk factor for global mortality. People who are insufficiently active have a 20% to 30% increased risk of all-cause mortality compared to those who engage in at least 30 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity most days of the week. (WHO).

An analysis of 13 studies of sitting time and activity levels found that those who sat for more than eight hours a day with no physical activity had a risk of dying similar to the risk of dying posed by obesity and smoking. 

When you have a sedentary lifestyle, you are at increased risk of the following:
  • Obesity
  • Type 2 diabetes
  • High blood pressure
  • Arthritis
  • Stroke
  • Some cancers like colon and breast cancers
  • Cardiovascular diseases including heart attack
  • Anxiety and depression.
Physical inactivity amongst pregnant women increases the risk of:
  • Pre-eclampsia
  • Gestational diabetes
  • Excessive weight gain
  • Delivery complications

The more physically inactive you are, the higher your health risks. However, it is never too late to start getting sufficiently active.

How to get more physically active
  • Exercise. Do simple home workouts like situps, squats, and yoga. Better still, register for a gym. WHO recommends at least 150-300 minutes of moderate intensity-aerobic physical activities; 75-150 minutes of vigorous-intensity aerobic physical activity, or an equivalent of both moderate- and vigorous-intensity activity throughout the week.
  • Cut down hours spent on TV and video games. Take a 3-5 minutes break to stand and move around and even when you watch, do simple tasks like walking up to change the channel rather than using the remote control.
  • Engage in house chores such as cleaning, sweeping, gardening, etc.
  • Walk short distances daily; perhaps around your neighborhood, or walk a friend. Walk around while on the phone; At work, take short breaks to walk around your office building, or walk up to your colleague to deliver a message rather than using the intercom.
  • For long distances, cycle or park further away from where you’re going and walk the rest of the way.
  • Use the stairs instead of the elevators.
  • Engage in recreational activities like swimming, football, lawn tennis, etc at least twice a week. Weekends would do fine.

The idea is to cut down long sitting or inactive hours and build more physical activities into your day. A combination of a few or all of these steps will help you achieve this. If you have been inactive for a long time, you may need to start slowly. As you progress, you can engage in more activities. The more physical activities engaged in, the greater the health benefits. Older adults, pregnant women, and people with special health needs should check with their healthcare provider on how much physical activity they should get and what type of physical activity they should do

Post Disclaimer

The information contained in this post is for general knowledge purposes, composed of personal experiences and theoretical research. It should, in no way, be construed as professional medical advice. Kindly contact a trained and licensed practitioner if you need personal and professional counsel.

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