I’m of the belief that one of the biggest killers today (at least within the developed world) is not a specific disease or illness, but is instead the kind of lifestyle lead by the majority of people; The Sedentary Lifestyle¹.
More so than many pre-existing medical conditions, illness or external factors; our lifestyle plays a large- if not the largest- role in dictating our health and well being. Many of us grow up learning to manage our time & money, relationships etc., but very few of us take the time to learn to manage our own lifestyle and well being. Today, more so than ever before, technology enables us to live in a way that allows us to be stationary for more and more time during our waking day.
A Sedentary lifestyle can be defined as a type of lifestyle with little or no physical activity. This consists of extended amounts of time being seated or lying while reading, socializing, watching television, playing video games, or using a mobile phone/computer for much of the day. Both screen time whilst sedentary, and time spent being sedentary have been linked to numerous health issues and even preventable causes of death.
Regardless of how we look at it, the human body is designed to move. In fact, the human body needs to move. From a simple physical perspective, muscle groups receive fresh blood and essential nutrients when engaged in movement and physical activity, atrophying when they are not. Our body literally wastes away without movement. I don’t think there is any clearer sign that we should accommodate this within our lifestyles.
I see so many correlations between the Sedentary Lifestyle and other negative factors. The more time we are sedentary, the more likely we are to engage with other unhealthy factors, such as unhealthy diets & bad eating habits, less restful sleep, less exercise and spending less meaningful time with family or friends. These factors, when combined, can create physical and mental health issues within even the most ‘normal’ of people.
Don’t get me wrong; I’m not perfect. I am (and have been) guilty of spending more time than I would like behind a desk at work or sitting around gaming for periods of time that are definitely excessive. (Needless to say I definitely look forward to the day that my office is a Jiu-jitsu matt and not a seated desk behind a laptop screen) Being aware of it and doing something about it is important. Whenever I get to the gym, I make sure to stretch out and engage the muscle groups that are affected the most by the sedentary components to my day.
This week, I will be posting some more specific articles and thoughts around the Sedentary Lifestyle. Watch the blog this week for more.