What is a sedentary lifestyle?

What is a sedentary lifestyle?

A sedentary lifestyle is one which involves little or no physical activity. It’s one of the major global health issues of the 21st century, as it is an underlying cause of death, disease and disability. It’s estimated that each year over 300,000 premature deaths are caused by obesity and sedentary lifestyles, just in the United States.

Screen time spent in front of a computer or TV is often a good indicator of how inactive a person is. When we sit down, our muscles don’t perform the important contractions our bodies need to clear glucose and fats from our blood. This in turn increases the risk of diabetes or heart problems.

Generally speaking, you can consider yourself having a sedentary lifestyle if you sit for 7 hours a day or longer. In fact, those who sit for more than 11 hours a day have a 40% higher risk of premature death than those who sit for fewer than 4 hours per day. So simply remaining seated for too long can be a matter of life and death!

Humans are increasingly inactive from an early age. A National Household Travel Study found that 54% of children aged 5 - 17 were driven to school in a private vehicle in 2017. Meanwhile, an additional 33% travelled by school bus. You can do the math, that only leaves a small percentage who walk or take public transportation.

All the while, American children are averaging 3 hours of screen time per day, which puts them at a greater risk of obesity. On weekends, that figure can rise to between 5 and 7 hours.

Staying seated for too long is bad for many health indicators, in the long term too. So it’s better to start off on the front foot. Our cardiorespiratory capacity is at its highest at the end of our teenage years. It then begins to decline from the age of 35. Therefore being fitter from an early age will reduce risks when you get older.

Nowadays, inactivity is a bigger killer than tobacco, as it affects a far greater number of people. Having a sedentary lifestyle increases the risk of cardiovascular diseases, obesity, diabetes and high blood pressure.

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