• Thursday, June 20, 2024
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The effects of sedentary lifestyles on physical health

The effects of sedentary lifestyles on physical health

Tobi is a software engineer who works for a company in Lagos Island. Tobi does not have any friends and as a result, is always at home. He also loves to play games, so he spends most of his time either sitting in front of his computer working or in front of his TV playing video games. Over time, Tobi started to experience neck and back pains. It started mildly but over time, it progressed into extremely severe pains that made it difficult for him to perform day-to-day activities. Tobi’s mother had to move in with him to assist him in his daily tasks.

Tobi sought professional help and was treated using massage therapy but was also advised to become more physically active. He was also told to take frequent breaks from his computer and walk around. He is likewise encouraged to engage in activities that take him out of the house and join clubs and groups that will position him to make friends. Tobi began to put all he was advised to do into practice. He registered at a gym which he went to 3 times a week and took walks daily. He also took breaks from sitting at his desk periodically to take strolls around his estate.

As weeks and months went by, Tobi began to see positive changes. Not only did he stop having back pain, but he also made friends at the gym and at the gamers club he joined.

Tobi’s story is a perfect depiction of how a sedentary lifestyle can affect one’s health.

Sedentary lifestyles have been on the rise since the COVID-19 pandemic. After the pandemic, many organizations adopted a remote working system. Whilst a remote working system has its benefits, it is important to create a system where frequent physical activity is incorporated and this responsibility falls on the employee or individual with a sedentary lifestyle and not their employer.

A sedentary lifestyle is one whereby an individual engages in little to no activity, but rather spends most of their time sitting or lying down.

A sedentary lifestyle has numerous effects on health, and they include,

(i) Back and neck pains as depicted in Tobi’s story

(ii) Obesity

(iii) Cardiovascular diseases

(iv) Mental health disorders and so on.

When an individual has little to no movement it can lead to Chronic back and neck pain and bad posture. Therefore, it is extremely important that an individual should not sit or lie down in one position for too long.

Prolonged sitting or lying down can lead to obesity. Exercise in any form helps the body burn calories however a lack of exercise or movement can lead to obesity as well as obesity related ailments.

The risk of cardiovascular illnesses, including high blood pressure, stroke, and heart disease, is greatly increased by a sedentary lifestyle. Frequent movement and exercise are essential for preserving cardiovascular health, which emphasizes the value of interspersing prolonged sitting with exercise.

Reduced cognitive performance and mental health conditions like anxiety and depression are linked to sedentary activity. Exercise has been shown to improve mood and cognitive function, highlighting the need to incorporate movement into everyday routines.

An individual can effectively combat a sedentary lifestyle by

1. Engaging in regular exercise: Through regular exercise, one can prevent the occurrence of the health conditions previously listed in their lives.

2. Taking regular breaks from prolonged sitting: As opposed to sitting down at a stretch while working, it is advisable to take short active breaks. Walk around your home.

3. Utilising active transportation: This involves either making use of public transportation, walking or using bicycles to destinations not so far away instead of driving or using cabs, parking slightly away from your destination covering the distance on foot and opting for stairs instead of elevators.

4. Incorporating physical activity into daily tasks: Choose physical activities that fit into your daily schedule, such as housecleaning, gardening, or recreational sports. This encourages increased mobility throughout the day.

To sum up, there are several hazards associated with leading a sedentary lifestyle, including obesity, cardiovascular disease, musculoskeletal disorders, and mental health issues. It’s critical to emphasize regular physical activity and make conscious attempts to decrease sedentary behaviours in order to offset these consequences. Adopting an active lifestyle can improve people’s general health and well-being.