In developed societies, more and more people are chained to the office chair. On top of that, when they get home they prefer to lie on the sofa and watch TV to disconnect from a heavy workday.
Sedentarism has become a true epidemic. Although hundreds of runners can be found walking the streets doing their daily races, more than half the population in the first world does not get enough exercise a week.
According to WHO, a person has an inactive lifestyle when he or she does not engage in more than 90 minutes of physical activity per week. If we add to this bad eating habits and the consumption of tobacco and alcohol, the Molotov cocktail is served.
The 12 main health problems that sedentary lifestyles can cause
All kinds of health problems, both physical and psychological, can be a consequence of not exercising enough. Our body is our most precious treasure, we only have one and we must take care of it.
That’s why let’s look at a few problems associated with leading a sedentary lifestyle.
1. Bone problems
Lead a sedentary lifestyle May contribute to bone problemssuch as osteoporosis, arthritis and osteoarthritis.
Several studies suggest that, in women, sitting 6 hours a day contributes to a loss of 1% of bone mass per year.
2. Increased risk of cancer
The habits of a sedentary life have been solidly linked to an increase in the likelihood of suffering from oncological diseases.
Colon cancer has been especially related to this type of life, since lack of exercise contributes to reduced levels of certain hormones and enzymes that protect the digestive tract.
It has also been linked to prostate cancer in men and breast and endometrial cancer in women.
In addition, food stays longer in the intestines and there is also a progressive worsening of the immune system.
3. Cardiovascular diseases
Sedentarism has been linked to an increased chance of heart problemsIt has been stated that it can double the risk of suffering this type of problem.
It also contributes to the possibility of high blood pressure.
Approximately, 27% of diabetes cases are caused by not getting enough exercise. Staying seated for an hour is believed to greatly increase the chance of this type of illness.
This is because sedentary life directly affects insulin production and efficiency.
5. Premature death
Lack of physical activity, combined with poor eating habits, is the second leading cause of mortality in the developed world after tobacco use.
In 2010, the WHO published a study in which it noted that 3.2 million people die prematurely each year from not getting enough exercise or take proper care of yourself.
6. Less energy
Being still for a long time makes you feel less like moving.. In addition, people who do not engage in physical activity may not be able to fully engage in their work because they lack energy.
7. Cognitive problems
An inactive lifestyle may have repercussions at the cerebral levelThis can lead to problems with memory, attention and concentration.
8. Metabolic problems
Staying still for about 20 minutes, either lying or sitting, slows your metabolism.
If you stay this way for about 4 hours, the enzymes responsible for controlling cholesterol and fat levels are significantly reduced.
Sedentary women are more aware of the effects of menopause. On the contrary, more frequent exercise contributes to limiting metabolic changes related to this cycle.
9. Obesity and overweight
Inactivity is addictive. The longer you stay still, the less desire you have to move. This leads to a vicious circle in which it is increasingly difficult to activate.
In addition, lack of exercise contributes to an increased appetite, causing the person to take in more calories than he or she requires and will burn.
Eventually, you can gain weight, which can make the person end up obese because there is no calorie deficit.
According to a Harvard study, sitting longer on the couch makes you want to eat more because you stop secreting irisin, a substance whose action is to transform white fat into brown fat, a beneficial type of fat.
However, being thin is not a protective factor against the effects of sedentary lifestyles; in fact, there are studies suggesting that there may be more thin people than obese victims of lack of exercise.
10. Psychological problems
Lack of movement can contribute to a depressed mood.as well as anxiety and stress problems.
When you move, whether doing daily activity or intense exercise, the nervous system benefits from the action of some neurotransmitters, such as dopamine and endorphins.
In the absence of these neurotransmitters, it is facilitated that there are problems in this system that generates negative emotional states.
Also, and directly related to not having good eating habits, a sedentary lifestyle contributes to eating disorders.
11. Decreased muscle mass
When standing, the abdominal muscles remain stretched and tense.. On the other hand, when you lie down, these muscles are not used. In the long run, a sedentary life causes the abs to become weak.
But not only the abdominals are affected by this. The buttocks become weaker and weaker as they are not used, causing them to become soft and poorly defined.
In general, muscle mass is lost, which contributes to the loss of strength. Side effects of this loss include problems with posture and balance, as well as contractures and pain in joints and muscles.
This consequence of sedentary life, together with the loss of bone mass and weight gain, causes the person to approach a situation in which they may manifest a motor disability.
12. Worst sex
Sedentary Men Produce Lower Quality Sperm. In addition, their ejaculations are less numerous, and sperm become slower.
Less testosterone and other hormones involved in sperm production are produced. In addition, not exercising can increase the risk of erectile dysfunction.
Combating sedentary lifestyles
The sedentary lifestyle has become the daily life of millions of people, making many in need of medical help.
Since this is a problem of almost pandemic proportions, health services in many countries are being overwhelmed by diseases resulting from this lifestylesuch as diabetes, cancer of all kinds and osteoporosis.
That is why it is extremely necessary to start taking care of ourselves, and we can only do this ourselves. Although governments have tried to reduce unhealthy habits in society, only we ourselves can take appropriate action to make our bodies as healthy as possible.
Walking for only half an hour a day, drinking more fruits and vegetables and avoiding alcohol and tobacco consumption are habits that, however simple they may seem, contribute to avoiding very serious and highly incapacitating illnesses. Abandoning sedentary life does not mean having to exhaust yourself in the gym by lifting heavy dumbbells for 4 hours a day. It is enough to spread the physical activities throughout the week to reach the 150 minutes a week that are considered adequate.
In addition, when you start playing sports, it can become somewhat addictive, making the habit more easily established than you might think at first. Along with this, if you are a smoker, exercise can impact other aspects of life unconsciously, reducing the urge to smoke and even starting to watch what you eat.
World Health Organization (2010). Global Status Report on Non-Communicable Diseases 2010. Executive summary. In https://www.who.int/nmh/publications/ncd=- Proudly Presents.
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (2008). 2008 Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans. In https://health.gov/paguidelines/2008/pdf/paguide.pdf
Vaamonde D., Da Silva-Grigoletto M. E., García-Manso J. M, Barrera N, Vaamonde-Lemos R. (2012). Physically active men show better semen parameters and hormone values than sedentary men. Eur J Appl Physiol 112(9). 3267-3673