Sedentary Disease 101
Sedentary Disease 101
A sedentary disease is a special class of disease. Many diseases are often attributed to inherited predisposition or genetics. For example: If your grandmother had heart disease there is a theoretical chance that you may have higher odds of succumbing to heart disease.
Whether this happens or not can be influenced by many things. Environment is often blamed for spreading other diseases. For example, a contagious disease may be a greater risk in a small, crowded environment. A sedentary disease however is directly correlated with physical inactivity.
What does sedentary even mean?
Merriam Webster dictionary defines sedentary as: “doing or requiring much sitting.” In the USA physical inactivity has become a big problem that is related to health problems, disease, and lack of mobility. In fact, the American Psychological Association states: “Research has shown approximately 25 percent to 35 percent of American adults are inactive.” This is one-quarter of the population of the USA.
Many people work from a chair or from home spending much time on a computer or making calls. After work, many people go home and take care of family, eat, and relax. The problem with physical inactivity is a growing list of health issues that result from being sedentary.
Common Health Conditions Associated With Being Sedentary
- Heart Disease
Following The Guidelines Reduces Risk
In 2008 the United States Government created its first set of physical activity guidelines for adults. These guidelines were revised in 2018. According to the physical activity guidelines, “Regularly active adults have lower rates of heart disease and stroke and have lower blood pressure, better blood lipid profiles, and better physical fitness.
Significant reductions in the risk of cardiovascular disease occur at activity levels equivalent to 150 minutes a week of moderate-intensity physical activity.” (Physical Activity Guidelines For Americans, et al)
This means that with less than three hours per week of moderate-intensity physical activity a person may see risk factors decrease and improvements to health and fitness. If you divide those minutes up over a seven day week, this can be accomplished with only a small time commitment.
Direct Connections Between Sedentary Lifestyle And Health Issues
The connection between a sedentary lifestyle and health issues are related to high levels of bad cholesterol, and atherosclerosis. This means that if you consume large amounts of unhealthy foods and don’t exercise you are likely to be at greater risk for many of the diseases above.
Exercise lowers blood pressure and heart rate. If you think about your circulatory system as the “pipes” in your system and your heart as the “engine,” it is easy to see how exercise and a clean diet can help keep the engine running well and the pipes flowing. Poor eating habits and a sedentary lifestyle can cause poor general health and in turn, cause a greater risk of diseases related to plaques or fatty deposits in your blood vessels.
These plaques are often related to heart attack and stroke. Adult-onset diabetes is often related to poor eating habits that may be confounded by a sedentary lifestyle. Your pancreases is constantly pumping out insulin if you have poor eating habits. This may lead to insulin resistance and later adult-onset diabetes. Being active reduces the risk of these conditions.
The Power Is All Yours
Increasing physical activity and consuming a diet rich in whole grains, fruits, vegetables, and healthy fats can help reduce the effects of sedentary disease. Making sure you get at least 150 minutes per week of moderate physical activity will also reduce your risk of a sedentary disease.
Get active, stay active, and live a long healthy life. This category of disease is 100% preventable by you.
It does not matter where in the world you are, what you have, or even if you have access to a gym. Small changes in your life can make a lasting difference in improving your health. You have the power to prevent sedentary disease in your life.
- Physical activity guidelines: https://www.who.int/mediacentre/news/releases/release23/en/#:~:text=Sedentary%20lifestyles%20increase%20all%20causes,lipid%20disorders%2C%20depression%20and%20anxiety.
- Merriam Webster Dictionary: https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/sedentary