Tag: poor sleep

August 7, 2018

Image credit: bigstockphoto.com

-by Dr. Alozie Ndubuka

 

When your lifestyle doesn’t include regular and adequate amount of physical activities or movements, then you are living a sedentary lifestyle. And this is one of the most passively damaging acts you can do to your health.

No. The fact that you have a job, or that you are always busy doesn’t make your life active, if all you do at work is sit at a desk or stare at computer screens for significantly long stretches of time. To escape the negative tolls of sedentary living, your daily activities must include reasonable amount of ‘movement’. The type of movements that engage your limbs and joints, and your heart to pump significantly.

I understand that your schedule is busy as anything, and you think it’s virtually impossible to incorporate such deliberate physical activities into your daily life or set aside regular periods for exercise routines. If you take a deeper look at your schedule, you’ll agree that this is not always true.

We can’t overemphasise the roles of physical fitness in keeping a straight head and balanced health. But, not many people consider it that much important as many are wont to flippantly attempt to justify their inactivity by claiming they are not headed to the Olympic games.

Not funny.

Let’s leave the talk about how you can ensure consistent physical activities for another day. whether you agree with the medical position on physical activities or not, a sedentary lifestyle takes a harmful toll on your health, and it could be fatal. You wouldn’t normally know or see it coming because it hurts you ever so gradually.

In this article, I will explain a few ways sedentary lifestyle constitutes a huge risk to your health.

 

Weaker Muscles and Body Systems

When a body part is restricted to a spot for a long period of time, the muscles and systems deteriorate and lose strength. The person therefore, usually need to undergo some physiotherapy. i.e. the therapy meant to restore strength to the body parts.

That’s exactly the same way the body needs consistent physical activities as therapy to maintain its functionalities, if we are subjected to being stationery for long periods of time.

The heart, the circulatory systems and muscles reinvigorate themselves when engaged. Blood pressure will be balanced, and circulation will flow seamlessly because no part of the body is weak.

So, without physical activities, all these become too weak to function as appropriate. And… just consider the heart being weak to function properly. That is dangerous.

 

Osteoporosis

                                          Image credit: bigstockphoto.com

 

When you spend too much time sitting or lying in a single position, you over-work your bones. They become weak and fragile.

That is osteoporosis and It is characterized by severe pains, especially in the joints. Furthermore, it makes you prone to fractures due to your bones and joints becoming weak.

Also, people with the challenge are at risk of losing their mobility at an early age. And this is one condition you wouldn’t want to experience.

 

Loss of Flexibility

The longer you sit in a spot, the more your abs and glutes become weaker; the more your hip flexors and low back become tight.

Athletes maintain an active lifestyle to keep their body parts mobile and flexible. Otherwise, different joints will become stiff one after another. And this can make life uncomfortable in more ways than one as we advance in age.

 

Poor Metabolism

The effect of sedentary lifestyle tells a lot on the internal functions of your body. One such effect is on your metabolism. Metabolism is the body’s process of using foods for energy and growth. It involves burning calories and breaking down fats.

A sedentary lifestyle prevents this from happening because there will be no activity to burn the calories or expend energy from the food taken. So, you find yourself storing calories and fats, both of which shouldn’t stay long in the body system.

 

Poor Sleep

Women’s Health Magazine describes this as a consequence of sitting for long hours with lack of sufficient circulation. This creates fluid build-up in your legs, and when you later lie down to sleep, fluid migrates to the muscles and tissues of your neck. Hence, you have difficulty relaxing your mind for sleep.

Lack of adequate amount of sleep is taxing on many levels, and is especially detrimental to mental wellness.

 

Troubled Mental Health 

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Physical activities have proven to be a mood enhancer. However, Depression, and Anxiety thrive in a sedentary environment. The mind is more linked to the lack of moving than most people realize.

You can prove this yourself by just taking that jug on one early morning, and take a stroll at work to get away from your seat. You’ll be amazed at how elated your spirit will be.

 

Blood Clotting

One of the most significant reasons for physical activities is to keep the blood warm and flowing unhindered. But when you shun that, you are at the risk of blood clots forming along the arteries. This could also result in sluggish blood flow.

The blood could form clots along the arteries and in organs such as the lungs. The complications are high and could even include death.

 

Fat and Blood Sugar Build-up

By sitting for long hours, you allow body fats to build up in your body. When this become excess, it is capable of clogging circulatory pathways in the body.

Likewise sugar, it converts to glucose upon consumption to give you energy. But, what happens when you refuse to use any energy? The sugar accumulates, and stays much longer in the blood stream than is appropriate.

This is why cases of diabetics will always be prevalent with sedentary lives.

 

Conclusion

So, why wait until some of those detrimental consequences occur before you take-up an active lifestyle?

The cheerful news is that you are not even required to do much: you don’t have to spend hours at the gym, as little as a 30-minute walk everyday around the block, or a regular step-climbing exercise in your home or at the neighbourhood footbridge will go a mighty long way to help.

Or simply, just take the stairs when you get to work instead of using the elevator. Really it works, and this particularly helps in boosting your fitness level over time. And there are various types of quick-fix simple office exercises you can do even in your living room.

Your healthy conducts remain incomplete without an active lifestyle. It doesn’t have to become a complicated process. Just a set of deliberate activities you adopt as an integral part of your life will make the positive difference.

Are you having difficulty keeping to an active lifestyle? I understand that it could be tedious sometimes. But don’t worry about that alone. Share about your struggle in the comment box.

You’ll surely learn something, and we can offer some advice here at St Ives Hospital which you’ll definitely find helpful.

 

About the Author

 

Dr. Alozie Ndubuka is a seasoned surgeon and family health specialist. He is presently the Medical Director at the St. Ives Family Clinic in Ikeja, Lagos.