Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Is Sitting Disease Killing You?

Let’s face it: we no longer live in the cavemen era that our bodies were built for, where our ancestors had to kill or grow their own food, and were constantly on the move. Nowadays most people spend their day sitting at their desk, sitting in the car, sitting on the couch, and then going to bed. If this is what your day looks like as well, then your sedentary lifestyle may be slowly killing you.

What is a Sedentary Lifestyle?

A sedentary person, or "typical couch pot...
(Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Simply put, a sedentary lifestyle is a lifestyle where you get little to no physical activity that involves being on your feet. This type of lifestyle is one of the worse kinds of lifestyles you can have, even if you don’t engage in other health-damaging activities such as smoking and excessive consumption of alcohol. This is because there are a lot of health risks that come with a sedentary lifestyle, as more and more evidence shows.

Health Risks of a Sedentary Lifestyle

Included among the many health risks that you could face if you maintain your sedentary lifestyle are:

  • Sleep apnea, where obstruction to the airways causes you to stop breathing periodically when you are sleeping. The obstruction can be caused by many reasons, but obesity and a sedentary lifestyle contribute to it significantly. These breathing pauses can be very detrimental in the long run, and have been linked to heart attack, stroke, and the development of diabetes.
  • Cardiovascular diseases, or in simple terms, diseases of the heart and blood vessels. Leading an overly sedentary lifestyle is usually coupled with eating too much and weight gain, which in turn increases your risk for heart disease.
  • Mental slowdowns as you get older. There is some evidence that a sedentary lifestyle can push along the process of memory deterioration as we age.
  • Pulmonary embolisms, which are more common among sedentary people, and there is an even higher risk if a sedentary woman is also on birth control pills.
What Can You Do to Minimize the Risk?

It’s simple: just start moving around more. Nobody is asking you to start running marathons every day (though, if you could, that would be great!). Just take small steps to ensure that you get some exercise into your day. For example, you can take the stairs instead of the elevator, and park your car a little bit further so you can take a short walk before and after work. Get a treadmill desk, or at least a standing desk if possible if you sit at long periods at work. Stand while you are on the phone. Every little bit adds up, but if you can add in about 30 minutes of proper exercise each day, that would be even better. Check out our Fun Ways to Exercise page for some fast and fun ways to work out that only take a few minutes per day.

So, start taking those baby steps towards a healthier lifestyle today. When you have a healthy heart at 70 and beyond, you’ll be happy you did!

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