Sedentary Lifestyles: A Health Risk

Modern life has brought with it many changes in how we approach our daily responsibilities. Many things that were once welcomed as conveniences, have now become hindrances to our health. Earlier lifestyles involved daily movement to gather water and food. This more natural form of existence rarely led to the diseases we see today. To acquire food and necessities today, all we have to do is visit a store or order from our computers. We have become a massively sedentary population. Television, computers, and even common jobs all assist us in sitting down for the majority of the day. Take a look at how this increases health risks.


Heart disease is a major contributor to illness and death among both men and women. Lack of exercise, coupled with poor dietary standards, can leave you at risk for a heart attack or other heart disease. Your heart rate increases when you exercise rigorously. It is recommended that your heart rate increase for at least 20 minutes during a workout. This gives your body the ultimate benefit for heart health and weight loss. This increased heart rate may have been much easier to reach in past cultures, as simple daily tasks required more physical effort. For example, walking to a well for water has the potential to increase your heart rate more than walking to a sink inside your home.

Mental State

The increase in mental disorders is thought to be a result of several different modern lifestyle factors. Anxiety and depression often become worse when patients stay indoors for long periods of time and avoid sunlight. Your body needs the sun to produce vitamin D. Sitting at a computer for work all day also brings in unnatural lighting and longer hours without movement. Exercise releases endorphins, as well. These “feel good” hormones are rarely accessed when a person sits at a desk or on the couch for an extreme amounts of time. The resulting frame of mind easily supports mental illness.


You may find yourself having to take the stairs at work one day due to an elevator outage. Much to your surprise, you may be breathing very heavy from only one flight. This decline in stamina can happen before you know it. Your body is unable to handle physical demands after long months sitting in an office or at home. You can get back in shape by starting over with a simple workout routine, and working your way back up to batter stamina. Your mental stamina is also affected, as you may become more irritable.


Obesity has increased in children and adults, alike. Sedentary lifestyles contribute to this in many ways. Less movement allows for the body to use less calories. Many people, however, continue to eat the way they did when they were more active. Decreased movement in correlation with increased calorie intake present a recipe for disaster. Obesity can also lead to a myriad of other health issues. Heart disease and diabetes often stem from being severely overweight. Shorter lifespans may also be expected.

Changes in lifestyles include a lack of playtime for kids, and increased work hours for adults. Unfortunately, many things that contribute to obesity are a side effect of our environment. Kids are unable to go outside and play after school in their neighborhoods due to safety issues. Increased living costs make it necessary for parents to be at work longer, leaving kids to fend for themselves when it comes to snacks and meals. Kids are also more likely to sit in front of a screen when a parent is not home encouraging other activities.

Increased work hours also cause more sedentary habits for the adults in the family. You may come home from a long workday and be unwilling to exercise. Exhaustion and family responsibilities may leave little time for exercise after a long day at work. It can be challenging to set aside time to get moving. In reality, it only takes a small change to begin improving chances for obesity. Start by taking 15 minute walks daily. This can also help improve your mental state.

Sedentary lifestyles are becoming rampant around the globe as industrial communities increase in number. Advances in technology are also changing the the way we spend our down time. It can be difficult to put down a game controller or phone. They are very entertaining. A conscious effort must be made to change daily habits. Unfortunately, many contributing factors cannot be changed. Living costs, technical developments, and industrialized cities are still on the rise.

Editor's Picks

There are very few people on this planet who enjoy their work more than Aner Banner. His friends often readily admit that Aner eats, sleeps, and breaths science 24 hours a day. He is always challenging old methods, proposing new ideas, and seeking to solve difficult problems. Aner spends most of the day imparting his wisdom to the young minds of a small elementary school. Thankfully he has also mastered the art of making science come alive for the future leaders of our nation. He is loved and well respected by students, parents, and faculty alike. His motto forever remains “never stop learning.

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