Health epidemic: a sedentary life can kill

Students get moving at the Student Recreation and Wellness Center. The Rec is accessible to all students and is filled with equipment to help students stay in shape.

Quinton Johnson CONTRIBUTOR

The next biggest health scare isn’t a virus like Ebola, but a sedentary lifestyle.

A sedentary lifestyle is defined as an excessive amount of daily sitting. This can be from watching Netflix, studying and working. In today’s society, the average individual spends between 50 to 60 percent of their day sitting, according to E. G. Wilmot. This is between 12 and 14.4 hours a day. 

The human body isn’t made for a sedentary lifestyle. This has become apparent over the past fifty years as sedentary time has increased drastically, along with health disorders.

Over the past twenty years, researchers have spent millions of dollars on research into the effects of a sedentary lifestyle. This research found a 112 percent increase in diabetes, 147 percent increase in cardiovascular disease, 90 percent increase in cardiovascular mortality, and a 49 percent increase in all-cause mortality in sedentary individuals, according to E. G. Wilmot. This is concerning as approximately 70 percent of Americans fall into a sedentary category.

An active lifestyle is defined by the American College of Sports Medicine as 150 minutes of moderate activity, around 140 to 160 beats per minute, or 75 minutes of vigorous excercise, above 160 beats per minute, per week, along with two to three days of muscular strengthening. 

These are the minimum recommendations by the ACSM, so it’s also important to continue to keep active throughout the day. Some activities that can help keep you active and also qualify as exercise is anything that makes the body move, such as mowing the lawn, gardening, walking the dog, cleaning the house, etc. 

These are very simple goals that will dramatically reduce your risk of accruing the many disorders associated with a sedentary life. Some of the most common problems are hypertension, dyslipidemia, prediabetes/diabetes, and obesity.

To reduce the risk of such diseases, follow the ACSM guidelines of an active lifestyle and avoid sitting for long periods of time.

It has been found that sitting for long periods of time can increase the risk of acquiring some disorders associated with sedentary lifestyle.

One way to reduce this is by getting up and walking around at least once an hour to break up the amount of time we sit. This one minute of standing and moving resets the metabolic systems in your body, which causes lipid profiles to drop. Over the past three years, you’ve seen this idea being implemented into smartwatches like the Apple Watch that reminds you to stand every hour.

You can have technology, researchers and doctors telling you to do these things but it’s ultimately up to you to make an achievable plan of action and get started.