12 Jan The dangers of a sedentary lifestyle
Experts have all agreed that some activity is better than none. The dangers of a sedentary lifestyle range from musculoskeletal disorders as simple as back pain to chronic conditions such as high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, heart disease and even depression. The American Center Of Disease Control (CDC) reports that lack of physical activity throughout the day can increase the risk of obesity and certain cancers, including bladder, breast, colon, uterus, oesophagus kidney, lung and stomach.
Whether you are 9 or 90, abundant evidence shows that exercise can enhance your health and well-being. But for many people, sedentary lifestyles, such as watching TV, surfing the Internet, or playing computer and video games, have replaced more active pursuits. This is prevalent with the ongoing pandemic and repeated lockdowns.
Adding as little as half an hour of moderately intense physical activity to your day can help you avoid a host of serious ailments. Regular exercise can also help you sleep better, reduce stress, control your weight, brighten your mood and sharpen your mental functioning.
A well-rounded exercise program has four components: aerobic activity, strength training, flexibility training, and balance exercises. Each benefits your body in a different way. Expert panels worldwide recommend using the FITT (Frequency, Intensity, Time, Type) principle when starting an exercise program and adjusting your workouts accordingly depending on your level.
A plethora of evidence shows that aerobic exercises are at the heart of any exercise or fitness program. Activities such as brisk walking, jogging, swimming and cycling have demonstrated disease-fighting benefits. Experts recommend exercising weekly at moderate intensities for 150 minutes or at high intensities for 75 minutes.
Strength training can be with body weights, elastic bands, weight machines or free weights and is as equally important as aerobic training. Expert panels recommend strength training for a minimum of 2 days per week with enough time in between for rest and recovery. The benefits of strength training include building stronger muscles and bones, controlling weight through effective calorie burning and improving self-confidence and image.
The third prong of a balanced exercise program is flexibility and stretching. These exercises are important to prevent injuries, back pain and stress. Examples of Mind/Body exercises that largely incorporate flexibility are Yoga, Tai Chi, Pilates, Qigong, and even dance.
Balance exercises are especially necessary, especially as we age. They only take a few minutes and often fit easily in the warm-up portion of a workout playing an important role in preventing falls and injuries.
Exercise is for everyone and the benefits are too many to be summarized here. However, as with everything in life, one size does not fit all.
If you are planning to start exercise start with the recommended minimum as per international guidelines. If you need a more specific regiment that needs to be tailored to your needs speak to one of our doctors now.
Stay safe, stay healthy and stay active.
About Dr. Rami
Dr. Rami is the Lead Telehealth Specialist at Health At Hand. He has an MBA in Healthcare Management and is pursuing his passion to tackle global mental health through evidence-based approaches in technology and exercise. Dr. Rami is an avid (amateur) football player and a sports enthusiast.