1. INTRODUCTION TO SEDENTARY LIFESTYLE
The “complete and absolute” well-being of an individual can be said to be a fruit or outcome of the individual’s daily habits or lifestyle. Just like a farmer that plants a seed and expects to harvest the yields of the seed, so should we understand that whatever we do, eat, practice, and so on,will have an effect on our health, either adverse or beneficial and we will reap it. And like that computer saying, “Garbage in, Garbage out”, in application, we are a product of our actions. On the bright side of this is, we are powerful enough to determine our total well-being, by just abandoning unhealthy practices and adopting positive health behaviours or lifestyles contributing to health, thus preventing illness.
2.1 Definition of Terms:
What is Lifestyle?
Lifestyle, according to the Oxford dictionary, is referred to as the way of life of an individual. The Austrian psychologist, Alfred Adler, defined lifestyle as the interests, opinions, behaviours, and orientations of an individual, as these tends to determine his/her way of living.
What is a Sedentary Lifestyle?
Sedentary lifestyle evolves from sedentary behaviour, which is defined as any waking behaviour such as sitting,lying,leaning,with an energy expenditure of 1.5 metabolic equivalent task (MET) or less than. This definition is by the Sedentary Behaviour Research Network. A sedentary lifestyle is a type of lifestyle involving little or no physical activity, as opposed to an active lifestyle. A person living a sedentary lifestyle is often sitting or lying down while engaged in an activity like socializing, watching television, playing video games, reading, or using a mobile phone/ computer for a substantial segment of the day.
2.2 Incidence of Sedentary Lifestyle Health Challenges.
Sedentary lifestyle increase all causes of mortality, doubles the risk of cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, and obesity, and increase the risks of colon cancer, high blood pressure, osteoporosis, lipid disorders, depression, and anxiety. According to WHO, 60 to 85% of people in the world — from both developed and developing countries— lead sedentary lifestyles, making it one of the more serious yet insufficiently addressed public health problems of our time. It is estimated that nearly two-thirds ofchildren are also insufficiently active, with serious implications for their future health.
2.3 Factors that predisposes to Sedentary Lifestyle
- Nature of job e.g. bankers,etc.
- Chronic illness or conditions that restricts movement e.g. Fracture amputation,etc.
- Old Age
2.4 Sedentary Lifestyle in Relation to Health
Over the years, a sedentary lifestyle has been seen to have more of a negative effect on the general health of a person.
Most people living a sedentary lifestyle are unlikely to be meeting the national physical activity guidelines. According to the government’s 2008 Physical Activity Guidelines for America trusted Source, adults should be getting at least 150 minutes of moderate- intensity physical activity each week.
Effects of a sedentary lifestyle can be either direct or indirect. Here are some of the effects of sedentary lifestyle on Health:
1. The Obvious Health Risks: Being sedentary is the opposite of being active. What happens with inactivity? Weight gain. Weight brings its own nasty problems, so a sedentary lifestyle has obvious health risks like obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure, and heart disease. The more weight you gain the harder your heart has to work. Your heart is a muscle, and the less it is worked, the weaker it becomes.
2. Loss of Flexibility: Blood doesn’t flow as freely through tight, bound muscles. Inflammation and pain rear their ugly heads as flexibility is lost. The more sitting you do, the more your hip flexors and low back become particularly tight. Your abs and gluteus also become weaker.
3. Lower Metabolism: A sedentary lifestyle means fewer calories burned. A lot of your body’s ability to breakdown fat simply shuts down.
4. Osteoporosis: Here’s a not-so-obvious health risk. Your body and muscles are made to move. Your bones are made to bear the weight of movement to stay strong. A sedentary lifestyle or too sitting and inactivity can lead to osteoporosis.
5. Increased chances of Dementia, Depression and Anxiety: The mind is linked to the lack of moving than most realize, especially in the elderly. But you don’t have to become elderly before you feel the negative harmful effects of a sedentary lifestyle on the mind.
2.5 Recommendations to avoid Sedentary Behavior and Reduce Health Complications.
Nobody can keep moving all day long, and you have to work. Unless you work in an environment that keeps you active, this will be tough. This is where you have a choice. Choose to form good habits especially at work:
- Take the stairs instead of the elevator.
- Stand as often as you can at work.
- Park further away from the door at work.
- Walk the halls while on phone calls.
- Exercise and stretch daily
However you choose to get moving, just get moving. Avoid the harmful effects of a sedentary lifestyle and take control of your health and mind!
Health complications that results from sedentary behaviours or lifestyle can be very dangerous and life threatening as they are majorly cardiopulmonary conditions. Hence the need to avoid these habits completely and build with time good behaviours that contributes to healthy living. Here are a few tips on some physical activities to keep you free from sedentary behaviours and the same time, fit and healthy:
- Multi-task if you don’t have spare time. Yardwork and household chores that have you moving around, such as sweeping, mopping, and dusting, can count as physical activity.
- Find creative ways to be more active: play active games with your family, take the stairs instead of the elevator, park at the back of the parking lot, challenge friends and family to see who can be the most active.
- Walk or bike for transportation whenever it’s an option.
- Make time for physical activity. Try and squeeze physical activity in any chance you get. Go on walks or exercise on your lunchbreak. Walk instead of sit if you’re early for a meeting or appointment.
- You may have to add a little bit of active time each day until being active is just a healthy habit and a normal part of life.
Some people who have been physically inactive for an extended period of time might not be able to achieve there commended 150 minutes of activity each week. Talk to your primary care provider if you have questions about exercise and the amount of physical activity that’s right for you.
N.B: PHYSICAL ACTIVITIES AT INTERVALS CONQUERS SEDENTARY BEHAVIOURS AND FREES ONE FROM THE RISK OF CARDIOPULMONARY DISEASES BY A GREAT PERCENTAGE!
The above, should be a mantra at hospitals and all general health care facilities to create more awareness thus help to reduce the incidence rate of health complications arising from sedentary lifestyle/behaviours in the country today.
NUNSA NATIONAL COMMITEE ON SOCIAL, WELFARE AND CULTURAL TOURISM.