One fine day, I was surfing through the internet and came across an article on inactivity and a sedentary lifestyle. I was aware that physical inactivity adversely affects health but never experienced it. So, I decided to have an experiment on myself to understand what an inactive lifestyle does to one’s life.
I decided to work online for a week and postponed all my appointments and sessions so that I can lead a very sedentary life for a week to understand its effect on the human mind and body.
A sedentary lifestyle is a type of lifestyle with little or no physical activity. A person living a sedentary lifestyle is often sitting or lying down while engaged in an activity like reading, socializing, watching television, playing video games, or using a mobile phone/computer for much of the day.
I continued the experiment for a week. Sunday was the most inactive and last day of my experiment. I was shocked to see the unwanted changes in me:
- Though there was no weight gain, there was a gain in body fat %. There was an increase in fat around the belly region. My face became puffier, making me look more aged. There was an increase in visceral and subcutaneous fat, making me feel heavier;
- I felt weakness in the muscle, leading to back pain;
- There was severe joint pain, especially knee and shoulder joints;
- I experienced some heaviness in my heart;
- There were changes in the biological clock of the body;
- There were frequent mood swings and distress in me;
- I became more anxious, irritating, and restless.
Inactivity and the sedentary life of a week hampered my health, happiness, and wellness of life. It took me the next three weeks to completely nullify the ill-effects of my experiment and to regain back my health. It became a challenge for me to be active again, but I managed it successfully by using my diet and exercise methods and techniques.
I wonder that sedentary life of a week can have so many ill effects, then it is sure to have affected much more adversely to a person who leads a sedentary lifestyle for a longer duration. There are many scholarly articles on inactivity and sedentary life, explaining its ill effects and ways to counter them.
- Sedentary lifestyles increase all causes of mortality, doubles the risk of cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, and obesity, and high blood pressure, osteoporosis, lipid disorders, depression, and anxiety. Worldwide, a sedentary lifestyle is estimated to be responsible for 6% of coronary heart disease cases, 7% of type 2 diabetes, 10% of breast cancer, and 10% of colon cancer cases.
- Obesity can be both a cause and a consequence of physical inactivity. Physical inactivity is associated with impaired sensitivity to hormones involved in metabolism, loss of lean muscle mass, and a reduction in total energy expenditure. It’s therefore not surprising that studies have found that physical inactivity can cause weight gain – and in combination with other factors, obesity. Physical inactivity can also be an effect of obesity, leading to chronic fatigue, muscle weakness, and impaired physical performance.
- It’s a vicious cycle: physical inactivity contributing to fat gain, leading to overweight and secretion of inflammatory cytokines, both of which may drive a further reduction in physical activity levels.
Accumulating evidence suggests that regular physical activity improves short- and long-term well-being by reducing feelings of stress. Regular exercise can help to increase lean muscle mass, improve appetite regulation, and elevate resting energy expenditure.
One can do the following activities as per their schedule:
- Low-intensity exercises include taking a walk, stretching, and light gardening.
- Moderate activities include pleasure walking, climbing stairs, gardening, yard work, moderate-to-heavy housework, dancing, and home exercise.
- More vigorous aerobic activities, such as brisk walking running, swimming, bicycling, roller skating, and jumping rope — done three or four times a week for 30-60 minutes — are best for improving overall fitness.
An active lifestyle leads to a happy and healthy life.
Amol Dixit ( Wellness Coach )