Saturday, January 5, 2013

Article # 182. Step Up Your Sedentary Lifestyle and Get Healthy




It’s a fact: far too many people today are living a sedentary lifestyle. What defines a “sedentary lifestyle” you ask? Well, you might be more familiar with the casual term of “couch potato.” People who live sedentary lives spend most of their time inactive, often sitting - usually in front of the TV, the computer, or a video console.

What’s wrong with a sedentary lifestyle?

A sedentary lifestyle leads to high blood pressure and excessive weight gain, among a number of other health conditions. In fact, this type of lifestyle is one of the leading factors known to cause obesity. It’s inevitable: with no exercise, a person has no way to burn the fat calories that are consumed on a daily basis. High blood pressure alone is a very dangerous condition; it can lead to strokes and heart attacks. 

The body needs exercise, not just to keep toned, but also to keep healthy. Without adequate exercise, you are more prone to most illnesses, from cancer to depression. Heart problems are often associated with a sedentary lifestyle, and even arthritis is thought to be related to lack of exercise. People with an elevated risk of type-2 diabetes should definitely get active; a sedentary life can significantly heighten the risk of developing this type of diabetes. Even your bones are affected by how much (or how little) you exercise. Osteoporosis, which causes the bones to become brittle and easily broken, can be brought on through an inactive lifestyle.



Who is affected by a sedentary lifestyle?

Unfortunately, this unhealthy tendency is not limited to adults. Children are also becoming increasingly sedentary. It’s not hard to see why some kids stay inactive all day. Traditional schools require long periods of sitting, and all the exciting new video games and computer “fun” out there can take up the remaining time. 

This kind of lifestyle can lead kids to have problems with weight and self-image. It can also contribute to metabolic syndrome, which includes problems with obesity, insulin and cholesterol. Teens that have spent their childhoods without exercising much can even develop high blood pressure at a very early age.

How can you change your sedentary lifestyle habits?
A sedentary lifestyle can be a hard habit to break. However, it is well worth it for the health benefits you will receive. Regular exercise strengthens your heart and helps your blood pressure stay at manageable levels. The simple act of Jogging, Gym or Swimming can help you banish stress and feel happier, all while helping you avoid such serious problems as diabetes and cancer. Some statistics indicate that exercise can cut your chances of getting bowel cancer by half. Experts usually recommend you spend between 45 minutes to one hour doing vigorous exercise, five days per week. 

If you want to get away from your sedentary lifestyle but are unsure where to start, think of some type of exercise you enjoyed as a child or teen. Jumping rope, walking or running, and stair-stepping are all great ways to burn some calories and give your health a boost. Children who are trapped in a sedentary life will benefit greatly if you can get them involved and active with other kids. Try learning a new sport together; baseball, tennis, and swimming can be excellent family activities that will get you all off the couch and into a healthier life! 

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