The Millennial Generation spends a major chunk of their day sitting in front of screens. There is hardly any movement throughout the day. Inevitably, they become victims of ‘The Sitting Disease’. This is not to be taken lightly. It is reported that approximately 2 million deaths per year are due to physical inactivity. WHO has issued a warning that a sedentary lifestyle could very well be among the 10 leading causes of death and disability in the world. Thus, it is crucial to be aware of the health risks posed by a Sedentary Lifestyle. Being aware of the risks would help us realize the seriousness of the lifestyle disorders it exposes us to and thereby make us take action to prevent them.
1. Cardiovascular Diseases – Cardiovascular diseases exercise helps lower blood pressure, increase good HDL cholesterol, reduce levels of bad LDL cholesterol, increases blood circulation that helps prevent blood clots (that are a major cause of heart attack and stroke), facilitates fat loss and builds muscle mass. A lack of exercise thus would have an entirely opposite effect – increased blood pressure, decreased good HDL cholesterol, increased levels of bad LDL cholesterol, decreased blood circulation, fat gain and no gain in muscle mass. All this would immediately put you at a high risk for all Cardiovascular Diseases.
2. Cancer – Sedentary behaviour is directly linked to an increased risk of cancer – endometrial cancer, colon cancer and breast cancer. Researchers suggest that adults aged between 50-71 who watched TV for at least 7 hours a day had 22% increased risk of cancer mortality relative to those who watched TV less than one hour a day. Sitting leads to excess body weight, which might facilitate carcinogenesis.
3. Diabetes – Type 2 Diabetes is directly correlated to sedentary behavior. It is reported that people who spend over 2 hours watching TV are 20% more at risk of developing Type 2 Diabetes.
The best way to prevent type 2 diabetes is through regular exercising – even small walks after every few hours can help prevent prediabetes from becoming type 2 diabetes. It is important to prevent yourself from type 2 diabetes in order to not increase your chances of heart disease, stroke, kidney disease, eye complications, and foot and skin problems.
4. Mental Health – Greater amount of sitting time is also directly proportional to higher risk of psychological distress. A recent research has found that sitting for long hours can worsen anxiety. Facing the screens for long hours is also found to be positively correlated to depression. Exercise, on the other hand, is known to reduce depression and stress. Exercise stimulates neurogenesis(growth of new brain cells), releases mood-lifting chemicals called “endorphins,” and releases neurotransmitters such as dopamine that are associated with feelings of pleasure.
5. Back and Neck Pain – Lower back pain is the number one complaint of office goers with a sedentary job role. Long hours of sitting is directly associated with lower back pain and neck-shoulder pain. Interrupting sedentary work every 30 minutes with some sort of movement can help prevent such discomforts to a large extent.
The health risks of a sedentary lifestyle are many. While we cannot avoid sedentary jobs, we can engage in some form of movement or exercise after every half hour. It is also recommended that you go for SRLCare’s Active Care Package for Sedentary Lifestyle. Prevent these health risks from becoming a part of your future.