Health Effects of Sedentariness

Sitting all day has been shown to contribute to musculoskeletal disorders, muscle degeneration, and osteoporosis. Our modern sedentary lifestyle allows for little movement, which, coupled with a poor diet, can lead to obesity. Overweight and obesity, in turn, can bring a host of other health problems like metabolic syndrome, hypertension, and pre-diabetes (high blood glucose). Recent research also linked excessive sitting with increased stress, anxiety, and risk of depression.

Sedentariness has been proven to be the key contributing factor to obesity. More than 2 in 3 adults and around one-third of children and adolescents aged between 6 and 19 are considered to be obese or overweight. With sedentary jobs and lifestyle in general, even regular exercise may not be enough to create a healthy energy balance (calories consumed versus calories burned). 

Metabolic Syndrome and Increased Risk of Stroke
Metabolic syndrome is a cluster of serious conditions like increased blood pressure, pre-diabetes (high blood glucose), elevated cholesterol and triglycerides. Generally associated with obesity, it may lead to more serious diseases like coronary heart disease or stroke.

Chronic Illnesses
Neither obesity nor lack of physical activity cause diabetes, cardiovascular disease, or hypertension, but both are associated with these chronic diseases. Diabetes is the 7th leading cause of death worldwide while heart disease went from being No. 3 cause of death in the U.S. to No. 5. 

Muscle Degeneration and Osteoporosis
The process of muscle degeneration is, however, a direct result of lack of physical activity. Although it naturally occurs with age, as well.  Muscles that normally contract and stretch during exercise or simple movement like walking tend to shrink when not used or trained regularly, which may lead to muscle weakness, tightening, and imbalance. Bones are also affected by inactivity. Low bone density caused by inactivity can, in fact, lead to osteoporosis—porous bone disease that increases the risk of fractures.

Musculoskeletal Disorders and Poor Posture
While obesity and associated risks of diabetes, CVD, and stroke result from a combination of poor diet and inactivity, prolonged sitting can lead to musculoskeletal disorders (MSDS)—the disorders of muscles, bones, ligaments, tendons, and nerves—such as tension neck syndrome and thoracic outlet syndrome. 
Most common causes of MSDS are repetitive strain injuries and poor posture. The repetitive strain may come as a result of an ergonomically poor workstation while poor posture puts additional pressure on the spine, neck, and shoulders, causing stiffness and pain. Lack of movement is another contributor to musculoskeletal pain because it reduces the blood flow to tissues and spinal discs. The latter tend to harden and also cannot heal without an adequate blood supply.

Anxiety, Stress, and Depression
Low physical activity does not only affect your physical health. Sitting and poor posture have both been linked to increased anxiety, stress, and risk of depression while numerous studies show that exercise can help improve your mood as well as manage your stress levels. 

Post time: Sep-08-2021