What are the 5 dangers of a sedentary lifestyle on our health?
Sedentary lifestyle: public health organizations ring the alarm bell
Here is a little reminder: a sedentary lifestyle is defined as a prolonged period of sitting or lying down during waking hours. Dr. François Carré, a cardiologist, specifies that “to be sedentary is to remain seated for at least seven hours on average.”
On the other hand, we speak of physical inactivity when a person practices less than 150 minutes of moderate physical activity per week.
While our human condition is all about movement, our modern lifestyles have reduced opportunities for regular physical activity. Indeed… Netflix is definitely more appealing than plowing your field after a day at the office.
And as if that wasn’t enough, successive lockdowns have worsened an already alarming situation before 2020.
Physical inactivity is responsible for at least five chronic diseases
Heart, brain, veins, articulations. No cell is spared from the perverse effects of a sedentary lifestyle. When we remain immobile, a whole series of reactions is triggered. Our cholesterol and fat levels increase, as does our resistance to insulin (the hormone that lowers blood sugar levels). Dozens of chronic diseases are thus likely to occur among sedentary people. Here are the most common ones:
The French Health Insurance (Assurance Maladie) warns about cases of type 2 diabetes, the one linked to lifestyle and in particular to a sedentary lifestyle. Repeated sitting promotes the rise in blood sugar levels and insulin resistance. A sedentary lifestyle is a risk factor for developing type 2 diabetes (plus 14% for 2 hours spent daily in front of the television).
Obesity is characterized by an excessive accumulation of body fat and severe weight gain. A chronic disease in its own right, it is due to an unbalanced relationship between the number of calories expended and the number of calories burned. And since sedentary life rhymes with very little energy expenditure, it is a major cause of the occurrence of this disease. It leads to respiratory problems, cardiovascular diseases and diabetes.
3) High blood pressure and cardiovascular diseases
Our heart is a muscle that needs to be stimulated. Without a regular activity, the blood pressure climbs, the fats around the vessel walls accumulate and open the way to a large number of cardiovascular diseases. It has been proven that sedentary time is associated with an increase in the incidence of cardiovascular disease.
Mens sana in corpore sano. This American study has once again proven the truth of this old proverb by hypothesizing a link between depression and sedentary lifestyle. The conclusions are quite edifying: a decrease in activity causes anxiety and depression, accompanied by a feeling of loneliness and stress. In addition, the excessive amounts of home office work over the last few months have greatly increased psychosocial risks (PSR) in the professional sphere.
The WHO classifies cancer as a chronic disease since new treatments allow people to live longer with the disease. Once again, the effects of a sedentary lifestyle are devastating. It contributes to the occurrence of certain cancers such as breast cancer and uterine cancer.
Regular physical activity and gamification : a good way of overcoming sedentary life ?
The recommendations of the WHO are categorical: each adult should practice 30 minutes of moderate physical activity per day and minimize prolonged sitting and immobility.
That said… In the midst of everyday life, thinking about stretching your legs is often more difficult than it seems. Today, we need incentives to get back to physical activity. Gamification, outdoors or via a connected object, is a great way to initiate changes in habit. Immersing oneself in a universe, getting out of the monotony of a daily number of steps, challenging colleagues or reinforcing social links bring the first elements of response to a public utility issue!