A sedentary lifestyle is one of many consequences. A person who lives a sedentary lifestyle often does not fully understand these consequences until it is too late. But what are these consequences and how do they affect the way we live? Living a sedentary lifestyle not only has a negative effect on one’s health but also determines the way one lives their life.
The word sedentary means being use to resting a great deal and exercising little. Therefore, someone who lives a sedentary lifestyle neglects to participate in physical activity and does things that only require minimal physical stress. It is an environmental disease with many signs and symptoms that can be potentially deadly. Some people live sedentary lifestyles because they are lazy, while others work a job that requires them to be sedentary. Our bodies are designed to move, yet technology and science have made it possible to do almost anything sitting. Moving is becoming redundant and even though there are opportunities everywhere for people to use physical activity in their daily lives they are not. As Melanie Warner explains, people can make the decisions about how to [live] for themselves”, but they are choosing the easy way to do things over getting exercise.
A sedentary lifestyle can be influenced by a number of causes. Not enough physical activity leads to poor health in the later years of a person’s life. When a person does not use their body, muscles are not stimulated causing poor circulation of blood, and when blood does not get circulated there is a higher risk of many diseases. A sedentary lifestyle is mainly influenced by different forms of entertainment like video games, television, and computers. Americans are spending more time in front of the television than ever these days and the number of obese people continues to rise showing an obvious connection. When a person sits down to watch television their intention is most likely to relax, and snacking usually goes hand in hand with watching television. Humans tend to crave sugar, salt, and fat, and the food processors “take advantage of human cravings…by putting enormous quantities of these in processed foods” (Anderson 36). Before the person realizes it, they have over eaten.
When this happens continuously, you can imagine the outcome. Internet also plays a factor in our sedentary lifestyles. Technology had made it possible for anyone to pay bills, shop, and even work with just the click of a mouse. Websites like Facebook have made it possible for people to connect with friends without even having to stand up. But do not think these ways of easy living do not come with consequences. Sitting for a long period of time causes the body to shut down at the metabolic level, blood circulation slows and fewer calories are burned. Another influence is the fact that many jobs are switching from physical labor, to office jobs, giving people no choice but to be involved in a sedentary lifestyle. Inactivity at work leads to decreased output. Although there are causes a person cannot control, the biggest cause of a sedentary lifestyle is laziness. People who are affected by laziness most likely just make excuses not to get involved in physical activity. However, this person has to understand that lack of exercise leads to lack of proper health.
Obesity, heart disease, muscle atrophy, and diabetes are a few common sedentary lifestyles effects. Obesity is the most obvious of effects of a sedentary lifestyle. The two commonly occur together. Obesity is also due to poor eating habits and comes with its own health problems. As Atul Gawande explains, “Obesity substantially increases the risk of respiratory failure, heart attacks, wound infections, hernias- almost every complication possible including death”(765). In other words, mixing a sedentary lifestyle with poor eating habits can be potentially detrimental to a person’s health. Obesity is also a major cause of type 2 diabetes. Living a sedentary lifestyle is one of the top 10 leading causes of death: “Unhealthy dietary habits and sedentary lifestyle together account for an estimated 300,000 deaths annually in the United States” (Harnack and French 1296).
Cardiovascular disease causes most of these deaths, putting people with diabetes at a much higher risk. Heart disease is another effect of a sedentary lifestyle. Because a person living a sedentary lifestyle does minimal physical activity, blood circulation is poor, causing blood vessels to stiffen and come blocked. If the heart does not get a sufficient supply of blood it cannot work properly, it loses it strength and flexibility, making the risk for heart disease extremely high. When a person gets does little physical activity their muscles become weak and start to shrink. This is called muscle atrophy and it heightens the risk of physical injury.
There are many benefits from physical activity most people look right past. A sedentary lifestyle can be resolved with simple diet and exercising. As Davey and Bishop explain, “The National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) has suggested that mild exercise or yoga may have a positive effect on various aspects of mental and physical health” (182). Balanced meals and healthy habits make all the difference when trying to change the way you live. It is essential to find the time and ways to exercise throughout the day in order to stay away from a sedentary lifestyle. Our bodies are designed to move, so “for all of us— an hour of exercise per day is recommended” (Anderson 38). Therefore, challenging yourself to get up and moving will insure you get the recommended amount of exercise.
Adding physical activity to your life helps physical and mental health, emotional well-being, and social functioning all in one. You know yourself and your body the best and making sure you pick workouts that fit you and your lifestyle can make or break the way you live. Chart progress by keeping a journal or notebook to see your improvements. This can help you set bigger and better goals and show how much you have accomplished. When exercising, make sure to warm up and cool down. Stretch properly to improve the flexibility of your joints. Also, doing cardiovascular exercises helps your lungs and heart a great deal. Stay motivated and hold yourself accountable for maintaining a healthy lifestyle.
A sedentary lifestyle is a very common disease in the US and the effects of living a sedentary lifestyle are literally killing us. There are many benefits from physical activity most people look right past. Understanding and awareness of this disease can help make the decision towards a more active lifestyle with multiple positive outcomes. And while widespread changes in lifestyle might take an extended amount of time, and may require alterations, the end result is worth it. In other words, choosing life over death is the better choice.
Anderson, E.N. Everyone Eats. New York: New York University Press, 2005. 36-8. Print. Davey, Carla, and John Bishop. “Muscle Dysmorphia Among College Men: An Emerging Gender-Related Counseling Concern.” Journal of College Counseling. 9. (2006): 182. Print Gawande, Atul. The Man Who Couldn’t Stop Eating. 10th ed. United States of America: The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc., 2008. 765. Print. Harnack, Lisa, and Simone French. “Fattening up on fast food.” American Dietetic Association. 103.10 (2003): 1296. Print. Warner, Melanie. “Salads or No, Cheap Burgers Revive McDonald’s.” New York Times 19 APR 2006: Sec. A. Print.
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