The ill-effects of a sedentary lifestyle

03-10-2021 Sun 14:09 IST | IANS | Lifestyle

New Delhi, Oct 3 : After exercising for about 30 minutes or so, do you enjoy lounging and watching your favourite web series? Just one episode or two, maybe five. You spend most of your day sitting in front of your computer, another electronic device, or just on the couch. If this sounds like you, then you are spending too much time being sedentary. And that could mean a possible heart disease in the making.

Aren't you alarmed yet! As per WHO, nearly 2 million deaths are attributed to sedentary lifestyles, also labelled as 'Sitting Disease' or 'Couch Potato Syndrome'. Sedentary behaviour refers to a sitting or lounging state, like sitting in a car on your way to work, sitting in meetings, or watching TV on the couch for an extended amount of time. It is defined as 'waking behaviour' characterised by an energy expenditure less than or equal to 1.5 Metabolic Equivalents (METS) while sitting, lying, or reclining.

Its damaging health effects are as follows:

* Obesity -- 300,000 premature deaths are attributed to this disease; higher incidence is seen in those who sit for more than 5hrs per day

* Double the risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD)

* Increased Blood pressure

* Increased chances of metabolic diseases leading to heart disease and Diabetes

* Increased chances of clotting in the leg veins leading to Pulmonary Embolism

* Increased cholesterol-related disorders

* Increased risk of chronic conditions, Piles, etc

* A sedentary lifestyle is a cause for many premature heart attacks

* A sedentary lifestyle aggravates osteoporosis, spine issues, and poor posture

* Anxiety and Depression are also significant complications of being sedentary

The past 18 months of Covid-19 have aggravated sedentary lifestyle, causing more obesity, CVDs. The truth is, even if you are physically active, being sedentary is still detrimental to your health. Working out doesn't offset the consequences of sitting all day. It can be hard to change habits but try some of these tips. A little goes a long way when it comes to better health and can help in reducing your risk factors.

* Standing is better than sitting

* Get up every 30 mins from your chair, and take a walk

* Preferably, use the staircase, avoid elevators

* Walk while taking a phone call

* Use technology like fitness tracking apps, on a cell phone or wearing a fitness watch

We need significant behavioural changes, especially in children and young adults, as they spend more time on gadgets than play. It is the parent's prerogative to find out which activity interests the child and inculcate the habit in them. Whether it is cycling, playing tennis, or dancing, nothing is taboo to keep the metabolism on a high. Chores like tending to the garden, cleaning up the house, taking the dog for a walk will expose the children to physical work, which is essential to keep laziness away. Sugar-laden foods cause rapid spike and fall of blood sugars, which can cause a lack of appetite, so foods that are gradually digested are ideal for any metabolism and need to be encouraged.

(Zakia Khan, Senior Consultant -- Interventional Cardiology and Head -- Cardiology Dept. and CATH Lab, Fortis Hospital, Kalyan)

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