What is Sedentary Lifestyle & Practical Ways to Overcome it

What is Sedentary Lifestyle can mean different things to different people. For some, it’s spending long hours at a desk job. For others, it’s lounging on the couch for most of the day. Regardless of the specifics, the common thread is a lack of movement and physical exertion.

What is Sedentary Lifestyle

A Sedentary Lifestyle can be best described as a type of lifestyle where an individual does not participate in levels of physical activity that meet recommended health guidelines. This mode of life is marked by sitting or remaining inactive for most of the day with little to no exercise.

Desk jobs, long driving hours, increased technological reliance and passive leisure activities – such as watching TV or playing video games – contribute significantly to one’s sedentary behaviour. Although these behaviours might seem innocuous, they’re in fact potential health risks.

Regular physical activity is key to preventing chronic diseases and enhancing mental health. When physical activity is insufficient, it results in a Sedentary Lifestyle. As such, an individual’s physical health can be categorised into one of two groups:

  • Active lifestyle: Individuals engage in physical activities that burn calories and make the heart beat faster.
  • Sedentary Lifestyle: Individuals do not engage in enough physical activity. Here, ‘enough’ is typically defined by health organisations as at least 150 minutes of moderate exercise or 75 minutes of intense exercise per week. This is often coupled with prolonged periods of sitting.

It’s important to highlight that sedentary behaviour extends beyond merely avoiding the gym or not playing sports. It’s characterised by any waking behaviour with low energy expenditure, oftentimes sitting or lying down.

Different Perspectives on Sedentary Lifestyle

Scripts often depict a Sedentary Lifestyle as being lazy; someone spending all day lounging on the couch or behind a desk. It’s important to note, such portrayals might not be completely accurate. A Sedentary Lifestyle is not just about not liking the gym or avoiding sweat-inducing activities. Rather, it’s a broader issue of prolonged periods of physical inactivity and low-energy expenditure that can include activities like studying, working at a desk job, commuting long hours, or indulging in screen-based leisure activities.

From the perspective of health experts, the definition of a Sedentary Lifestyle expands further. It’s marked by a lack of moderate to vigorous physical activities that exceed a given threshold, typically suggested to be below 150 minutes per week. This is based on World Health Organization guidelines and includes activities ranging from brisk walking to more vigorous exercises like running or cycling.

Our social environment also plays a significant role in promoting a Sedentary Lifestyle. The advent of technology has encouraged an increase in time spent on electronic devices at the cost of physical activity. Consequently, societal norms and habits are shifting, favouring sedentary behaviours over more active alternatives.

However, views on a Sedentary Lifestyle are not entirely negative. Some argue that jobs requiring prolonged sitting or inactivity are often associated with better education and higher income. Therefore, these people might have more resources to invest in healthier lifestyle choices outside of working hours.

Health Implications of a Sedentary Lifestyle

Surprisingly, a Sedentary Lifestyle can take a significant toll on one’s health. Prolonged physical inactivity is believed to cause more deaths than smoking, according to several leading health experts. It’s no secret that an inactive lifestyle’s downsides can impact anyone, regardless of age, gender, or socioeconomic status.

Firstly, people leading a sedentary life are more prone to obesity. This condition occurs as a result of energy imbalance when one consumes more calories than what they burn through physical activity. Obesity, in turn, increases the chances of developing other health problems like heart disease, high blood pressure, and type 2 diabetes.

It’s also worth noting that sedentary behaviour can result in an increased risk of cardiovascular disease. Lack of movement can cause a decrease in the body’s ability to break down fats and sugar, leading to their buildup in the bloodstream. This buildup can lead to heart disease and stroke.

Finally, inactivity can also have a profound effect on mental health.What is Sedentary Lifestyle. People with a Sedentary Lifestyle are more likely to report feelings of depression and anxiety. Several studies have shown a correlation between physical activity and improved mood, as exercise can release chemicals in the brain that act as natural mood boosters.