How Our Sedentary Lifestyle Contributes to UnhealthinessBy Daniel Angelini
Today, people’s lifestyles are a result of the previous decades’ boom in technological development. Because of globalization and automation, many tasks are no longer performed by hand. Post-industrial society is largely sedentary; its economic and recreational activities are no longer held outdoors, in the sun, or out on the fields and seas.
People are mostly stuck in offices or at home, rendering physical work unnecessary. We have traded in the farmlands for stationary desk setups.
These changes have placed humans a couple of steps removed from the activities that were once necessary for survival, like running, swimming, and hunting. For hundreds of thousands of years, if a human didn’t move, he wouldn’t find something to eat or drink. He wouldn’t be able to keep himself warm at night or form alliances and bonds.
Motion and your health
Physical activity has a strong relationship with neurological well-being. For one, it stimulates brain plasticity and encourages the growth of connections among neurons. Movement also helps to facilitate the release of chemicals in the brain. The production of endorphins, adrenalin, and serotonin is linked to increased brain activity. These hormones are also present during exercise.
A sedentary lifestyle, meanwhile, is positively linked with chronic conditions like obesity, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and others. It also increases the risk of ailments like colon cancer, hypertension, depression, and osteoporosis. Furthermore, sitting at your desk for long periods of time alienates you from colleagues and social interaction at work.
Muscle atrophy from sedentary living
Aside from chronic ailments, a lifestyle spent mostly seated will lead to atrophying muscles. Whatever you don’t use withers and dies; this is true in the human body as it is in the rest of nature. Muscles grow weak when they are not exercised properly.
If you spend too much time sitting or lying down, you will lose muscle mass. This is because a lack of muscle activity leads to fewer nerve signals to muscles. Without muscle contraction from nerve signals, the body thinks that the muscle is unnecessary and starts to break it down.
How to stay healthy in modern times
The main way to stave off chronic ailments and muscle degeneration is regular exercise. Even getting up occasionally from your seat and walking around will help you burn some calories and jog your neurons. Try to work up your stamina to full-blown fitness sessions, with at least 20 minutes of high-intensity activity. Working out three times a week will have enormous benefits to you and your overall health.
Let your office or home’s furnishings support your lifestyle as well. Get a stand-up workspace for your home office or your workplace. There are many benefits to a standing desk; for example, a study in the American Journal of Public Health showed that stand-biased classrooms reduced children’s BMI percentile by 5.24 percent. This helps children battle childhood obesity, which puts them at risk for developing diabetes or other conditions early in life.
Being more intentional about our choices is necessary now more than ever. Since our lives are marked by more convenience and electronic activity, we have to be the ones to incorporate physical activity into our schedules. If you have long office hours, make sure to stand up regularly, or even get an adjustable stand-up desk to battle the sedentary lifestyle!
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