Make Time to Move
Being a couch potato. No time for exercise. Have a sedentary or inactive lifestyle. All of these phrases are prevalent today. During our work and leisure time we often sit, using a computer or other device, watching TV, reading, studying or maybe playing video games. We spend long days at a desk and even sit while driving in our cars.
Being sedentary is defined as “any waking time activity during which one is seated, reclined or lying down, expending low levels of energy.” Being sedentary and inactive is an independent risk factor for health issues, outside of other risk factors one may have, such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes or obesity. Being inactive can also lead to these other risk factors or make them worse for those who already deal with them. If you have a disability, being inactive increases the risk for developing other health problems.
Being sedentary affects your body by:
- Burning fewer calories
- Loss of muscle strength and endurance
- Loss of bone density
- Changes in metabolism in the breakdown of fats and sugars
- Decrease in the immune system
- Poor blood circulation and decreased cardiovascular function
- Increase in inflammation
- Changes and imbalance of hormones
The above lead to many health issues and chronic diseases such as diabetes, heart disease, stroke, certain cancers, osteoporosis, increased falls, frailty, depression and cognitive decline. This in turn leads to increased personal, health care, employer and economic burdens.
The good news is that even increasing your activity throughout the day and decreasing your time being sedentary can have positive effects on your health. Starting slow and progressing gradually helps your body adapt and improve. Building to a higher level of physical activity and then exercise reaps even greater benefits, but taking one step at a time will lead to a happier, healthier you.
Remember, people do not decide their futures; people decide their habits, and habits decide their futures.