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What Are the Risks of a Sedentary Lifestyle?




The word sedentary means spending too much time sitting and being inactive. If you have a desk job, are retired, or spend more time watching TV, surfing the internet, or playing video games, you may be at risk of having a sedentary lifestyle.

Now, if you work at a desk all day but go to the gym in the morning or after work, you get vital exercise your body needs to help counter the effects of sitting all day. However, even that is not enough, as you need to break up sitting with physical activity throughout the day – even 5 minutes of walking hourly.

You may think of a person who leads a sedentary life as being a couch potato, and while that is true, there are also other ways a person can fit this description. Some people have hectic careers, frequently traveling from one location to another. Whether by car, plane, or train, you are not getting much movement even though you are on the move. No, lugging a suitcase does not count as exercise.

Did you know that the average American spends 55 percent of their waking time in sedentary activities? The remaining 45 percent may include showering/bathing, cooking, running errands, housecleaning, laundry, eating, etc. How much do you have left for exercise in your daily schedule?

It does not take much effort to turn things around. Research has shown that a mere 20 – 30 minutes of daily cardio exercise, even broken into 10-minute periods, can tremendously impact your health and overall well-being.

How Does Being Inactive Affect Our Health and Body?

You might think that a sedentary lifestyle prevents you from feeling burned out and using up all your energy, but it is the other way around. The more you sit around, the fewer calories your body uses. Calories equal energy – your metabolism shuts down if you are not using it. Remember the simple rule: consuming more calories than you expend leads to weight gain. With your metabolism not functioning correctly, your body will have less energy available, even if there comes a time when you need it.

Here Are Some of the Number One Ways Having a Sedentary Lifestyle Can Affect Your Body, Health, and Mind

  • Loss of Muscle Strength, Body Aches, and Stiffness

If you do not exercise your muscles, they cannot maintain their mass or strength. You will begin to feel weak. Because exercise and physical activity also support the skeletal system, you may start to experience decreased bone density. Joint pains and stiffness could occur, making it difficult to engage in exercise. Also, remaining in one position for too long causes muscles to stiffen.

  • Weight Gain and Poor Metabolism

As previously mentioned, an inactive lifestyle decreases caloric expenditure. You will gain weight if you do not reduce your caloric intake appropriately. As your metabolism slows down, it struggles to break down carbohydrates and fats. Insulin resistance occurs, putting you at risk of developing type 2 diabetes. Low-density lipoprotein (LDL) and total cholesterol levels may rise, further increasing health risks.

  • Increased Risk of Hormonal Imbalance

Some of the crucial hormones in the body, including testosterone and human growth hormone (HGH), rely on exercise to stimulate their production in more significant amounts. People with a sedentary lifestyle often suffer from symptoms of hormone deficiency and imbalance that can lead to poor health, decreased cognitive functions, and reduced quality of life.

  • Decreases Blood Circulation

The two hormones we just mentioned play leading roles in circulation. HGH stimulates cell regeneration, and testosterone supports red blood cell production in the bone marrow. If you become anemic, you may suffer from problems with circulation, which puts the heart in danger. Increased LDL levels can clog arteries, furthering potential cardiovascular concerns.

  • Sleeplessness and Fatigue

As testosterone and HGH levels decline, the body increases the production of cortisol, which interferes with circadian rhythm sleep patterns. If you sleep less than 7 hours each night, your hormone levels will decline, your metabolism will slow even more, and you will feel more tired during the day.


The increased fatigue can lead to poor dietary choices associated with consuming excess sugar or caffeine for energy. The less energy you expend, the more tired your body will become, as exercise helps release endorphins that boost mood and help you feel motivated. If the muscles are not taking in glucose to expend while in motion, your energy levels will deplete.

  • Weakens the Immune System

Hormones help regulate the production of white blood cells, the immune fighters guarding against germs and bacteria. A sedentary lifestyle causes your immune system to slow down and increases the risk of developing unwanted illnesses.

  • Trouble Concentrating and Memory Loss

Lack of physical activity interferes with alertness, focus, concentration, cognitive processing, and memory. You may have trouble feeling motivated. Many people report frequent bouts of brain fog.

What Are the Health Risks of a Sedentary Lifestyle?

An inactive lifestyle can increase your risk of serious medical conditions that can impact your physical and mental health. Remaining sedentary can lead to chronic and sometimes debilitating diseases and increase your risk of early morbidity and mortality.

Here Are Some of the Leading Health Risks You Face with a Sedentary Lifestyle

  • Obesity

A sedentary lifestyle slows down the metabolism, reducing the body’s caloric expenditure. Consuming more calories than you utilize results in ongoing weight gain. Because excess fat inhibits and interferes with hormone production and balance, many other health issues can occur in conjunction with obesity.

  • Heart Diseases

Health issues such as cardiomyopathy and coronary artery disease increase in risk when you do not get adequate physical activity. Find out the signs of heart disease in men and what you can do to prevent the development of this condition.

  • Vein-Related Issues and Stroke

Movement helps move the blood through your veins and arteries. A sedentary lifestyle slows circulation, increasing the risk of spider and varicose veins and, more importantly – deep or superficial vein thrombosis (DVT and SVT). While SVT is likely only to cause pain, DVT can cause a life-threatening blood clot that can block blow flow or travel to your lungs. A stroke can occur if the clot blocks blood flow to the brain.  Consider visiting Vein clinic Fort Worth for a overall check-up.

  • Diabetes

Because inactivity slows down metabolic functions, the muscles do not take glucose from the bloodstream for energy. Blood sugar levels build up, causing more insulin to enter the bloodstream. The cells become immune to the effects of insulin, resulting in insulin resistance. The longer this cycle increases, the higher the likelihood of developing type 2 diabetes.

  • High Blood Pressure and Cholesterol

Cholesterol has gotten a bad reputation over the years, as the body requires it to produce androgen hormones. However, if too much of this fatty substance builds up in the arteries, they become clogged. Movement helps to promote adequate blood flow so that good cholesterol (high-density lipoprotein/HDL) can remove the excess bad LDL cholesterol from the arteries.

As your arteries become blocked by LDL cholesterol buildup, the heart has to work harder to push blood through the body. That can lead to high blood pressure and weakening of the blood vessels. Exercise can help improve circulation and lower blood pressure.

  • Osteoporosis

Bones and muscles need physical activity to keep them strong and healthy. A sedentary lifestyle can contribute to the overall weakening of the bones. Research has shown that the simple act of jumping twenty times twice daily can help increase hip and thigh bone density. Weight-bearing exercises help increase bone mass to strengthen the bones and reduce the risk of osteoporosis.

  • Cancer Risk


Research suggests that 4 out of 10 cancers are preventable by reducing sedentary behaviors and increasing physical activity. Physical inactivity increases your risk of obesity, which is an established factor in breast, colorectal, endometrial, esophageal, gallbladder, gastric cardia, liver, meningioma, multiple myeloma, ovarian, pancreatic, renal/kidneys, and thyroid cancer sites. 11 of these 13 sites experience a relative risk reduction with high vs. low physical activity levels.

  • Mental Health Problems

Physical inactivity inhibits the release of serotonin, a crucial mood-boosting chemical, from your brain. Low serotonin levels often correlate to decreased motivation, depression, and negative thoughts. Because a sedentary lifestyle also impedes the production of other hormones that influence mood and cognitive functions, there is an additional risk of developing dementia and other mental health issues.


A sedentary lifestyle increases your risk of many physical and mental health issues, causes weight gain, changes in appearance, and can lead to weakness and body aches. Increasing physical activity is crucial to protect one’s health and well-being. If you have an office job that finds you frequently on the phone, get up and pace while you talk.

Getting up and walking around for 5 minutes every half hour to hour can tremendously impact your life. Adding other forms of activity daily can add up to a big difference. Park further away from a building, take the steps instead of the elevator or escalator, and hand-washing your car, gardening, stretching, and dancing in your living room can significantly improve your overall health.

Think about ways to sneak in movement while you are watching TV at night, such as folding laundry, dusting, washing dishes, or doing some floor exercises. The littlest changes can sometimes go the longest way toward transforming your

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