The Dangers of a Sedentary Lifestyle
Sedentary lifestyle is a medical term used to describe a lifestyle with little or no physical activity. It is commonly found in both the developed and developing world, and is characterized by sitting, reading, watching television or using the computer for much of the day, with little or no vigorous physical exercise.
After 6 million years of hunter-gatherer existence, humans can be observed sheltering in warm rooms, counteracting the tiresome effects of earth’s gravity by slouching on comfortable seats in front of glowing screens, being whisked effortlessly between floors aboard mechanical staircases, even soaring across continents while seated in warm moving boxes.
Research suggests that sedentary lifestyles are themselves a risk factor for cardiometabolic morbidity and all-cause mortality [article link]
The Facts on Sedentary Lifestyle:
- Let’s start by calling it what it truly is: a ‘globesity’ pandemic:
- Adults aged 65 and over reported the highest prevalence of physical inactivity (32.1 percent) followed by adults aged 45 to 64 (28.6 percent) and younger adults aged 18 to 44 (22.6 percent) [source]. America’s youth are paying the price for being physically inactive. Moreover, physical activity declines dramatically during adolescence.
- According to the American Heart Association, those who are physically inactive have between 1.5 and 2.4 times the risk for developing coronary heart disease, comparable to that observed for high blood cholesterol, high blood pressure or cigarette smoking. [article link]
- A sedentary lifestyle increases the risk of developing diabetes, hypertension, colon cancer, depression and anxiety, obesity, and weak muscles and bones.
- According to the CDC, 78% of the population was at risk for health problems related to lack of exercise, which is regular and sustained physical activity.
- On average, physically active people outlive those who are inactive.
- Physical inactivity affects at least 20 of the most deadly chronic disorders. (to illustrate how long this has been an issue – this article from 2002)
The Importance of an Active Lifestyle
Our genes, combined with lifestyle choices, determine the health that we get to experience during our lifetime. What current research shows is that our genes are virtually identical to those of our hunter-gatherer ancestors who inhabited the earth over 10,000 years ago. For them, daily physical activity was not a lifestyle choice; it was a necessary part of survival. Nowadays, even though exercise and movement may seem like a choice, exercise is still very necessary for our survival and optimal health.
Currently, more than 60% of American adults are not regularly active, and 25% of the adult population is not active at all. Sedentary Death Syndrome, or “SeDS,” is the term developed by more than 200 of the nation’s leading physiologists to diagnose the growing epidemic of physical inactivity and its relationship to chronic, preventable diseases. All inactive Americans are currently at risk for SeDS, which can lead to premature disability or death. Approximately 2.5 million Americans will die prematurely in the next ten years due to SeDS, a number greater than all alcohol, gun, motor vehicle, and illicit drug use deaths combined. These researchers call SeDS the second largest threat to public health.
Sedentary death syndrome (SeDS) is a major public health burden due to its causing multiple chronic diseases and millions of premature deaths each year.
Avoid all these dangers of a sedentary lifestyle by making the choice to exercise regularly!
Now Get Moving!
(Recommended reading: Your chair is your enemy)