Why You Should Avoid a Sedentary Lifestyle

A sedentary lifestyle combines the consumption of processed and high-fat foods with little or no physical activity. In this article, we'll explain why you should avoid it.
Why You Should Avoid a Sedentary Lifestyle

Last update: 25 August, 2020

The lifestyle individuals lead today is radically different from the one they led thousands of years ago. Back then, our ancestors evolved with a series of characteristics that allowed them to be agile, fast, and strong to survive harsh environments. Today, most people make their living while sitting down for most of the day. This low physical activity has everything to do with the origin of many life-threatening diseases. Continue reading to learn how and why you should avoid a sedentary lifestyle.

What’s a sedentary lifestyle?

A sedentary lifestyle is made up of habits and lifestyles that involve little or no physical activity in daily life. It usually goes hand-in-hand with poor eating habits. However, this doesn’t always happen.

Now, believe it or not, the structure of today’s society promotes this behavior. On many occasions, office jobs are more exhausting than other types of jobs since they make people insanely tired, to the point where they have little to no desire to exercise one they go home.

These circumstances also favor avoiding spending time cooking and resorting to fast food. That, in combination with low physical activity, can cause major long-term health problems.

The consequences of leading a sedentary lifestyle

As of today, we could say that a sedentary lifestyle is the association of a diet based on fast food and little to no physical activity every day. The negative consequences are difficult to appreciate at first. However, in the long term, they add up and become increasingly visible.

Next up, we’ll be analyzing why you should avoid a sedentary lifestyle and the serious consequences that this can trigger.

An overweight person holding a scale.

Avoid being overweight and obesity

The consumption of highly caloric foods and poor in essential nutrients, together with a low daily caloric expenditure, will cause you to constantly find yourself in a calorie surplus.

Processed carbohydrates with little nutritional value and saturated fat make up those calories. Later on, they’re restored in the body’s favorite energy reserve: visceral and subcutaneous fat. Over time, the accumulation of fat produces a significant centrally predominant overweight, especially around the waist, hips, and abdomen.

Being overweight in itself is dangerous and can be the origin of serious disorders such as metabolic syndrome; which can lead to diabetes mellitus. If the individual doesn’t control this in time, they can reach a state of obesity in which all the consequences we explained above will be multiplied.

Avoid a sedentary lifestyle: Mellitus diabetes

As we already mentioned, being overweight can produce a metabolic syndrome that could evolve into diabetes Mellitus over time. On the other hand, a high intake of processed carbohydrates not burned with physical exercise will give way to consistently high blood glucose levels.

This sustained elevation of glucose can desensitize the pancreatic cells responsible for producing insulin. As a result, the individual may end up suffering from type II diabetes.

Cardiovascular disease

A sedentary lifestyle is, above all, related to cardiovascular disease. Numerous studies link this lifestyle with the growth of atherosclerotic plaques.

These plaques are deposited in the coronary arteries, which can become clogged. This, as a consequence, generates an ischemic pathology, such as myocardial infarction. In fact, heart attacks are the leading cause of heart failure in the Western world.

A woman holding a red, heart-shaped object.

Since obesity and diabetes are consequences of a sedentary lifestyle, the onset of cardiovascular disease may be accelerated. Both states can lead to high blood pressure, hypertriglyceridemia, and hypercholesterolemia.

As you can see, a sedentary lifestyle is the basis of a series of conditions that are pathological and harmful in themselves which, when happening all together, lead to cardiovascular diseases. These conditions, especially those related to ischemic heart disease such as heart attacks, are the main cause of death in many countries of the world.

Avoiding a sedentary lifestyle

Although this may be difficult in many stages of life, you must remember that you’re made for physical activity. At first, avoiding a sedentary lifestyle can be complicated and tedious. Nonetheless, over time you’ll see how enjoyable it is to do sports, especially due to all the benefits it brings to your health.

Finally, we recommend reading about the importance of nutrition and maintaining a balanced diet. If you put the two together, you’ll enjoy a great quality of life and will live longer.

All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.

  • Owen N, Sparling PB, Healy GN, Dunstan DW, Matthews CE. Sedentary behavior: Emerging evidence for a new health risk. Vol. 85, Mayo Clinic Proceedings. Elsevier Ltd; 2010. p. 1138–41.
  • Lee IM, Shiroma EJ, Lobelo F, Puska P, Blair SN, Katzmarzyk PT, et al. Effect of physical inactivity on major non-communicable diseases worldwide: An analysis of burden of disease and life expectancy. Lancet. 2012;380(9838):219–29.
  • Katzmarzyk PT, Church TS, Craig CL, Bouchard C. Sitting time and mortality from all causes, cardiovascular disease, and cancer. Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2009 May;41(5):998–1005.
  • Panahi S, Tremblay A. Sedentariness and Health: Is Sedentary Behavior More Than Just Physical Inactivity? Front Public Heal. 2018 Sep 10;6.
  • Joseph JJ, Echouffo-Tcheugui JB, Golden SH, Chen H, Jenny NS, Carnethon MR, et al. Physical activity, sedentary behaviors and the incidence of type 2 diabetes mellitus: The multi-ethnic study of atherosclerosis (MESA). BMJ Open Diabetes Res Care. 2016 Jun 1;4(1).

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.