Life has slowed down for many people recently because of the pandemic. Everyone started staying at home much more and many have become accustomed to a more sedentary life. Although things have picked up recently, not everyone has become active again. Unfortunately, continuing to live a sedentary lifestyle can shorten your life considerably.
The good news is that becoming active again can help you to live longer. Being active is an essential part of increasing your longevity.
Sedentary Lifestyle Effects on Health
Being mostly inactive for long periods has a powerfully negative effect on your body. It functions so much better when you keep moving and exercise regularly. Even people who exercise regularly can suffer some of the negative effects of a sedentary lifestyle if they sit for long periods.
Being sedentary for extended periods will sooner or later reveal the cost by developing chronic pain and potentially deadly diseases. They include:
- Problems with blood sugar levels and possibly diabetes
- Cardiovascular disease (heart attack and stroke)
- Degenerative disc disease
- Chronic pain in the joints
- Cancer (colon, ovarian, breast, endometrial, and lung)
- Pain in the muscles and weakness
- Deep blood clots in the legs (potentially fatal).
Although the above problems are more serious, other problems are likely to occur as well. A sedentary lifestyle can also lead to weight gain, high cholesterol, increased inflammation, weakening of the bones, weaker immune system, poor blood circulation, shortness of breath, and more. An inactive lifestyle will also impact mental health negatively, possibly leading to depression or a mental health disorder.
Injuries That Slow You Down
After an injury, it is often necessary to become sedentary for a short time. This allows time for healing and the pain that may be associated with it to dissipate as it heals. Being sedentary for short periods will not hurt much, but it is important to become active again when possible.
In some cases, you may have chronic pain that has not been treated – and activity may aggravate it. If so, getting it treated as soon as possible is important so that you can get back on your feet again. There are many doctors, chiropractors, orthopedic specialists, and pain doctors that can help you.
Best Exercises to Eliminate Being Sedentary
Although there are several types of exercises you can participate in, walking is one of the best. Studies indicate that slowing down in your walking pace can predict how long you will live after you reach 75. If you have slowed down in your pace after that, you are less likely to reach your 85th birthday.
It is still recommended that you exercise for about 150 minutes per week – 30 minutes per day – for best results. You can avoid the harmful effects of a sedentary lifestyle with less than intense exercises but they should be conducted five or six days per week.
Walking can be broken down into five-minute segments if you walk for five minutes every two hours. You could walk while you are on the phone, during TV commercials, and instead of driving. You can also exercise while gardening, by parking farther away from the store, taking the stairs instead of riding in elevators, doing chores around the house, etc.
Regular exercise also provides several positive benefits that include reducing pain levels (by increasing endorphins), reduced risk of early death from any cause, and better mental health. Health problems always mean more expenses, too. Staying healthy by avoiding a sedentary lifestyle and maintaining a regular exercise program will help you stay away from doctors and take less medicine – which means more money in your pocket and more for retirement.