Sedentary behavior is characterized not only by that individual who does not practice any physical activity, even the simplest activities, like walking or playing sports, or the one who sits in a chair or lying in bed all day. The lifestyle of a sedentary human goes far beyond that. Having this lifestyle means that the individual has bad daily habits, even in small details like preferring an elevator while avoiding a ladder. But not necessarily the individual who does not practice hard physical activity can be considered sedentary. Other types of activities can be done, such as going up and down stairs, and that also will be considered an important activity to do daily at home or work. A sedentary person is one who does not do anything to exercise the mind or the body. Currently, an issue like obesity and depression is increasing in our society, and this could be alarming, and both of those problems are related to a sedentary lifestyle.
May be influenced by daily factors, physical and mental inactivity is one of the biggest problems in our society nowadays. This sedentary lifestyle is increased, and this behavior can lead to significant health problems, physically and mentally. According to the World Health Organization (WHO, 2019), a sedentary lifestyle is harmful to health and can cause the onset of numerous diseases, such as diabetes, osteoporosis, cholesterol disorders, respiratory diseases, infarction, and obesity. A huge amount of those diseases can affect children, young people, adults, and elders. Besides that, not practicing any mental activity can lead to premature aging and many other mental diseases, such as depression and Alzheimer's disease.
One of the most common problems that can arise due to sedentary behavior is known as obesity. This disease can be characterized by a disturbance that involves excessive accumulation of fat in the human body, and also obesity additionally increases the risk of health problems. Affording to the National Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys (NHANES, 2010), this disease has affected many people around the world, with more than 78 million people just in North America, and almost 70% of adults are overweight or obese. It is a disturbing number of people with this disorder. Besides, this physical disorder these individuals can contract other considerable illnesses like diabetes, heart disease, and some types of cancer.
In addition, another substantial problem that a sedentary lifestyle could cause is mental problems. Inactivity can easily influence the development of disorders such as depression, anxiety, and the development of Alzheimer's disease. The brain is a muscle and likes all others should be exercised, and as a result, this disease is developed by the lack of mental stimulation. Mental illnesses are more common in older people, but these disorders can be developed early on due to a sedentary lifestyle. Depression is characterized by a continuous loss of interest in daily activities. According to the World Health Organization (WHO, 2016), more than 264 million people around the world have suffered from depression.
On the other hand, there are several alternatives to solve most problems that are caused by physical inactivity. However, getting through a sedentary lifestyle will take a lot of dedication, effort, and willpower. Some people are unaware of the danger of having a sedentary lifestyle, but in general, many individuals are aware of the problems that inactivity can bring. However, these people do not like to practice physical activity, do not feel well, and do not feel like practicing some physical activity.
The first step to solving the problem of physical and mental inactivity is to organize the daily routine. Due to today quite busy and tiring people tend to want to just go to their homes and rest. However, to have a physically active life, one must organize a time to practice physical activities per day or at least three days during the week. By rearranging the routine and beginning to exercise the mind and body at the appointed time, this activity will become usual. It is important to emphasize that the choice of the activity to be performed is essential because the individual will have in his routine a task that was previously difficult to be fulfilled and never before attempted. Thus, there are several sports and activities like dance and jumping, for example, it is a way to start some physical activity.
The second step is looking for a sport that identifies itself as very important and will greatly facilitate the transition from a sedentary lifestyle to a healthier lifestyle. Some people prefer individual sports like running, cycling, or swimming, while others prefer to practice group sports like football, or basketball. Sports in a group are usually decisive because there is healthy competitiveness among athletes, which motivates them to work more and hard. It will also be a form of incentive so that they are always there practicing activities together. However, the physical activities developed at home may be feasible because it saves time; one can train anytime without pressure, alone, and without costs. During the pandemic of the new coronavirus (Covid-19), the number of people training from their own homes grew.
Activities that can be done for the development of the mind, such as reading and good nights of sleep, related together with physical activities, are extremely essential for all ages, being fundamental in growth, learning, and in many other aspects of life. However, usually, the practice of mental activities is indicated for the elders, since they are not able to practice physical activities daily. Mental activities to exercise the brain are essential in the life of any human being. In addition to the personal and professional growth that mental activities can offer, it is also important to prevent disease and is also responsible for slowing aging.
The practice of both physical and intellectual exercise is essential and vital for the health of the person, given that when it practices exercising, the body releases a hormone called endorphin, which is responsible for the feeling of well-being and pleasure. This change in metabolism brings several health benefits, such as body weight control, reducing the risk of developing high blood pressure, preventing bad cholesterol rates, and decreasing the risk of heart and respiratory diseases.
Regular physical activity is recommended for people of all ages, men or women, because has been shown to reduce premature mortality from strokes, coronary artery disease, hypertension, and diabetes mellitus, as well as some forms of cancer. Besides, it slows aging, in addition to strengthening muscles, and has good effects on bones. An active lifestyle correlates with longevity and is important for both physical and mental well-being.
In conclusion, physical activity leads to increased physical fitness, exercise capacity, and risk reduction of diseases and mental disorders. This essay has indicated two problems and has evaluated two solutions. In summary, it has been shown that problems such as obesity and mental disorders are mainly caused by an increased sedentary lifestyle. The effects include several diseases and a huge worry for future generations. Also, it has described two solutions: reorganize the daily routine to do any physical activity and how choose the ways to practice physical activity. However, it was pointed out that a sedentary lifestyle can be very difficult for the individual to lead with that. In my opinion, people who consider themselves sedentary need urgently to take an attitude to tackle this problem and then improve a healthier lifestyle by practicing physical and mental exercises. The global population must become aware of this problem and should help others through this phase. Just as governments should urgently invest in public places for sports, encourage people to do physical activity, and advertisements to raise awareness of this big problem that being sedentary.
- Lakka, T. A., Laaksonen, D. E., Lakka, H.-M., Männikkö, N., Niskanen, L. K., Rauramma, R., & Salonen, J. T. (2003). Sedentary Lifestyle, Poor Cardiorespiratory Fitness, and the Metabolic Syndrome. Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise, 35(8), 1279–1286.
- National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute (2013, February 03). Why Obesity Is a Health Problem. Retrieved from https://www.who.int/mediacentre/news/releases/release23/en/
- Reilly J. J., Methven E., McDowell Z. C., et al. Health Consequences of Obesity. Archives of Disease in Childhood 2003; 88:748-752.
- Suzanne Falck, M. D. (2018, August 29). What Are the Consequences of a Sedentary Lifestyle? Medically reviewed. Retrieved from http://www.medreform.org/statistics/insurance/elderly-coverage/233
- Tremblay M. S., Aubert S., Barnes J. D., Saunders T. J., Carson V., Latimer-Cheung A. E., Chastin S. F. M., Altenburg T.M., Chinapaw M. J. M., SBRN Terminology Consensus Project Participants. Sedentary Behavior Research Network (SBRN) – Terminology Consensus Project Process and Outcome. Int J Behav Nutr Phys Act. 2017 June 10;14(1):75.
- WORLD HEALTH ORGANIZATION. DEPRESSION. Retrieved from https://www.who.int/health-topics/depression#tab=tab_1
- WORLD HEALTH ORGANIZATION (2002, April 04). Physical Inactivity a Leading Cause of Disease and Disability, Warns WHO. Retrieved from https://www.who.int/mediacentre/news/releases/release23/en/