If you are somebody who has the habit of lying on the couch all day, watching a movie with a bag of chips in one hand and a soft drink in the other, congratulations, you are a couch potato.
But if you are not that, and instead someone who works a 9 to 5 job sitting in front of the computer all day long, you’re a workaholic and a desk potato. When it comes to fitness, it doesn’t make it better, does it? Definitely not.
Sadly, most of us are leading a sedentary lifestyle where we either sit, slouch or lay all day long. We wake up, get ready, go to work (which includes sitting for 6-7 hours) and leave for home only to sleep.
Little do we realise this sedentary lifestyle is only bringing us closer to death. There are 100 ways a sedentary lifestyle could be harming you. Today, we will be discussing how it can impact your health.
Increases your weight and makes you obese
It is a no-brainer, isn’t it? The first and foremost effect a sedentary lifestyle has is on your weight. It is a simple science. Your body gets its energy from food, which it utilises for survival and for the additional activities you do. When this energy gets unutilised due to inactivity, it is stored as fat. Consequently, you put on weight and become obese eventually.
The increased cases of heart attacks and cardiac arrests in the gym may make you doubt if exercising is good for you. You may also think you are better off without it. But here’s a truth bomb alert, a sedentary lifestyle is much more harmful, it makes you much more likely to have a heart disease.
Just so you know your heart is the organ that severely bears the repercussions of inactivity. Exercising promotes blood flow to the heart. When you are inactive, your blood vessels get narrowed. Consequently, your heart does not get enough blood, which makes you more prone to heart attacks.
Type 2 Diabetes
Diabetes doesn’t make you suffer directly. But it can create a catalyst effect on your health by increasing the risks of kidney failure, stroke, heart attack, and vision, to name a few. The increased risk of diabetes has more to do with obesity. But even if you are not obese, inactivity can make your body resistant to insulin. Exercising, on the other hand, makes your body use glucose much more effectively.
Increased blood pressure
It’s true that your body needs oxygen, air and food to survive, but it also needs exercise to function as it should in the long run. A sedentary lifestyle leads to thickening as well as narrowing of blood vessels. When that happens, your blood has to force its way through these passages, leading to high blood pressure. High blood pressure is disastrous for your heart as it can lead to clots, which can ultimately cause heart failures and heart attacks.
Perhaps till now, you thought that only smoking can increase your risk of cancer. But here’s a piece of truth that may surprise you. A sedentary lifestyle can increase your risk of cancer as well.
Exercise provides several positive biological effects on the body; a few of which have been associated with certain types of cancers. As exercise lowers the levels of certain hormones such as insulin, oestrogen, growth factors and insulin, it can help prevent cancer.
How to get active if your sedentary lifestyle doesn’t allow exercising?
- For starters, you don’t need to indulge in an hour-long workout session. Even if you can spend 10-15 minutes exercising, it is good enough for your cardiovascular as well as overall health. If you are unable to work out in the evening, aim to wake up at least 10-15 minutes earlier in the morning, so you can exercise. Even though morning workouts do not specifically burn more calories than your evening workouts, they are any day better as they keep you determined, dedicated and motivated. Not to mention, any last-minute obligations in the evening can keep you from exercising. So, do it in the morning and be done and dusted.
- Along with exercising, you must also increase your activity level. You can start with a walk. Aim to walk at least 10,000 steps a day.
- Make it a goal to go for a 5-minute walk every hour when you are working a desk job.
- Climb the stairs, instead of taking the lift.
The pervasive sedentary lifestyle prevalent among working Indians is undeniably taking a toll on both their physical and mental well-being. The mounting evidence linking prolonged periods of sitting to a range of health issues calls for urgent attention and a collective shift in mindset. To mitigate the adverse effects, individuals and employers alike must actively promote regular physical activity, ergonomic work environments, and mindful breaks during the workday. By fostering a culture that values movement and prioritises holistic health, Indians can aspire to lead more balanced lives, thereby not only enhancing their own quality of life but also contributing to a more vibrant and productive society as a whole.
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