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Understanding Sedentary Lifestyle: Implications and Ways to Manage it

12 June 2023

Are you desk-bound for most of your working hours?

You likely share a cordial relationship with your workstation where you happily spend more than half of your awake time during the day.

If you do so, you'll also likely end up in the driving seat as you leave your work and hit the couch as soon as you get home.

No wonder you're a victim of an increasingly common lifestyle problem - a sedentary lifestyle.

Living a sedentary lifestyle is becoming a major public health concern, and prolonged sitting while working is a major contributor to this lifestyle concern. In what follows, we look closely at what a sedentary lifestyle means. We also delve into the implications of a sedentary lifestyle on your physical and mental health. Moreover, we look at ways you can try to manage the implications of a sedentary lifestyle.

What is a Sedentary Lifestyle?

A sedentary lifestyle is all about spending extended amounts of awake time with little or no physical activity. It refers to prolonged sitting associated with little or no energy expenditure and physical exercise.

Some lifestyle patterns that can contribute to a sedentary lifestyle include continuous sitting in front of the computer screen, driving to work, and extensive use of digital gadgets while binge eating during free time. Working on a computer screen falls into this category because even though your mind and hands may be working but most of your body is still in a motionless state.

The recent advancements in technology can be considered as one of the most significant factors that contribute to a sedentary lifestyle. Over the years, as wireless connections improved, physical jobs were largely replaced with corporate jobs, which are leading to a sedentary lifestyle and the most significant health issues of this modern age. In fact, it might surprise many of you, but physical inactivity is the 4th leading risk factor for global mortality.

Now that you have a clear understanding of what is a sedentary lifestyle let's look at the implications of a sedentary lifestyle.

Implications of a Sedentary Lifestyle

You must have come across the notion that sitting is the new smoking. And research backs this claim.

According to statistics, individuals who spend time standing at their jobs burn more calories than individuals who don't. Moreover, they are more likely to experience increased health risks, including cancer, as well as shortening of lifespan.

The combined physical and mental health effects of a sedentary lifestyle include the following.

Increased risk of Type II diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, high blood pressure, obesity,

Slowed metabolism, which contributes to weakening the body's ability to regularly break down sugar and fat,

Lowered functionality of the immune system that makes it prone to illnesses,

Musculoskeletal problems, loss of flexibility in the muscles and joints, and increased risk of osteoporosis may occur and

Premature death.

Along with a range of physical problems, a sedentary lifestyle also contributes to mental health concerns. Individuals living sedentary lives are more likely to get mental health conditions like depression and anxiety. Movement and exercise help combat stress and anxiety by releasing oxytocin; however, the bodies of individuals living a sedentary life release little to no amount of oxytocin that threatens their mental well-being and overall happiness.

Managing Threats of a Sedentary Lifestyle – Living an Active Life

Sitting isn't the root cause of the problem; instead, the problem lies in little or no movement.

If you're working for the corporate world, you must be surprised to know that your sedentary lifestyle is wreaking havoc on your mind and body.

Fortunately, once you realize it, there's a ray of hope. You can manage the implications of a sedentary lifestyle and combat the adverse effects of sedentary living.

Let's look at how you can manage the implications of a sedentary lifestyle.

Keep Track of the Time You Spend Sitting

Sitting is one of the constant activities that you do at work every day, but, do you even count the number of hours you spend sitting?

No right. You're not alone. Most people don't keep track of time spent sitting, so the first thing you need to do to counter the implications of a sedentary lifestyle is to keep track of the time you spend sitting down in your office.

Once you know how much time you spend sitting, you are more likely to make a conscious effort to reduce this time.

Invest in a Height-Adjustable Standing Desk

A height-adjustable standing desk is one best inventions to counter the negative implications of prolonged sitting. It allows you to switch your position from sitting to standing and vice versa and ensures that you spend only a short time in the same position because, like prolonged sitting, prolonged standing can also be quite dangerous for your physical and mental health.

While a height0adjustable standing desk, you can switch your position and incorporate stretches while sitting and standing that help promotes activity and counter the implications of a sedentary lifestyle.

If you're looking for a height-adjustable standing desk to manage the implications of a sedentary lifestyle, we recommend investing in the Oval-Shaped Standing Desk (E8). The dual motor lifting system ensures seamless desk transition at varying heights. The desk has enhanced features like a multi-functional touch keypad and enhanced safety features that ensure a smooth transition from standing to sitting and vice versa. The desk also features a cable management system that helps keep your workstation safe and organized.

To find out more about this product or other height-adjustable standing desks by FlexiSpot, click here.

Take Regular Breaks Throughout the Day

It's always refreshing for your mind to take a break during your working hours. And while you take a break from work, use this time to get some movement for your body. Get a quick walk, grab a glass of water, or use this opportunity to say hello to a co-worker. And if you find all of this tough, simply get some stretches for your neck, arms, back, and legs so you get the energy to get back to work.

Take the Stairs Instead of an Elevator

Does your office have a two or more-storeyed building? Then it will likely have an elevator. To mitigate the implications of a sedentary lifestyle, you should skip the elevator and take the stairs instead.

Climbing the stairs requires the use of various muscles in your lower body that enhance your flexibility, burn calories, and use up the excess energy that your body would have otherwise stored.

Remember, taking the stairs counts as a physical activity, so it serves as an easy way to counter the implications of a sedentary lifestyle.

Change Your Commute

In addition to being active while you're at work, you need to change how you commute to and from work. Whether you take a bus or commute via your car, you sit throughout your journey, adding to your time spent sitting.

You can change your commute to either walking or cycling so you can get some physical activity while you get to work. An additional benefit of switching your commute mode is the benefit to the environment in terms of fewer carbon footprints.

Be Active Outside Your Office

Even when you make changes to your lifestyle, like using stairs instead of elevators or walking to work, you still need to be active outside your office. When you're not at work, make sure you take time to meditate or incorporate some physical activity into your day.

Moreover, once you get home, instead of getting to your couch or bed to watch television or scroll through your favorite social media platform, you should take measures like going to the gym, swimming, or for an evening walk to the nearby park to limit your sitting duration for the day.

Remember, the more you move, the better your quality of life!

Wrapping it Up

A sedentary lifestyle is a leading cause of numerous physical and mental health concerns. The implications of a sedentary lifestyle can be devastating from heart diseases to metabolic disorders, cancer, and even premature death. Given the recent changes in working style, it may seem tough to avoid a sedentary lifestyle completely; however, you can always find ways to manage its implications, like taking the measures mentioned in this post.

While it seems natural to fall on the couch after a busy workday, by ensuring enough movement inside and outside your work, you can get a step closer to living a healthy and happy life.