Although the population is being encouraged to increase the physical activity and exercise nowadays, studies show that most of the American population are sedentary. Most of them do not perform the recommended amount of exercise to stay healthy. This is at least 150 minutes of moderate physical activity a week.
Many jobs existing today require sitting for a long time (8 hours or more a day), and most of the workers in these jobs stay sitting when they arrive home (to eat or watch TV), so they do not exercise their muscles properly.
When a person is constantly sitting, he/she may start feeling that his/her muscles. This may include the lower limbs, are getting weaker and flabby. This could mean that they are losing the strength. When we are still young this may not be noticed, but as we grow older the natural process of losing muscle mass makes this condition worse and it can advance to the point of preventing the performance of daily activities.
Damages Caused By Sedentary Lifestyle
It is important to know that not only muscles are affected when a person has a sedentary lifestyle; the joints, spine, skin, blood vessels, heart, and even the brain may be damaged by not exercising constantly.
– Spin damage: When a person is sitting for long periods, the muscles in the back and around the spine get weaken. This occurs often when the person adopts inappropriate postures. Likewise, sedentarism decreases the amount of circulating blood and the oxygen. This limit what reaches the cells in the muscles, ligaments and intervertebral discs, producing the wear of these structures.
In fact, a sedentary lifestyle is one of the main causes of chronic back pain for both disc herniation. This happens as the pressure on the back and spine is increased while sitting. In addition, the pinched back nerves hurt due to the extra pressure exerted by the vertebrae and bad postures.
Respiratory System Damage
– Damage to the respiratory system: When we are sitting, the position and shape of the rib cage changes, the lungs have less space, and they cannot expand properly and oxygenate the blood.
– Lower limbs nerves damage: Constant knees flexion can cause damage to the nerves that reach the lower part of the legs (as the feet). This leads to the person who may feel a constant tingling and numbness.
Circulatory System Damage
– Blood clot formation: When we have the same posture during a long time, the blood doesn’t circulate properly (especially in the lower limbs) and blood clots can develop. In some cases, these clots can break free and travel to the brain, lungs, or heart, which causes the obstruction of blood circulation in some parts of the body (causing strokes or heart attacks).
– Facilitates the formation of atherosclerotic plaques: When we exercise, we produce the enzyme lipoprotein lipase. This helps to avoid the accumulation of fat in the blood vessels interior. When we spent most of the time sitting, the lipoprotein lipase production decreases. This can develop a disease called arteriosclerosis (formation of fat plaques into the blood vessels), which is considered a cardiovascular disease.
Long Term Damage
Finally, in the long term, having a sedentary lifestyle can increase the risk. This includes having cardiovascular diseases, and Diabetes Mellitus. In addition, this can cause some kinds of cancer (such as breast or colon cancer), kidney and liver problems. In fact, sedentarism is an important cause of premature death in USA population.
As we can see, a sedentary lifestyle causes multiple health problems. So, what are you waiting to start exercising now?