The Silent Killer
It turns out that a lack of exercise in our lives is a silent killer. The World Health Organisation lists physical inactivity as the fourth biggest risk factor for death in adults across the world. The latest research shows when it comes to heart disease, leading a sedentary life is as great a risk factor as smoking and obesity. In fact, inactivity in terms of disease risk, is more dangerous than being overweight.
Sitting is a threat
If you spend long periods of time sitting, this is particularly bad news. It increases your risk of heart disease, obesity, diabetes and cancer. The most current research has shown that even normal weight individuals that are inactive, are at risk of developing disease. There is a molecular pathway that is essential to burning fats. This shuts down with inactivity, and that subsequently increases your risk of developing heart disease.
Unfortunately you can’t bank the benefits of exercise from your youth, hoping it will help you 40 years down the line. The ideal scenario is to have been active throughout your lifespan. But research has shown that your health can benefit from physical activity at any age. Meaning it doesn’t matter when you start, as long as you start!
Physical activity performed regularly, can help to prevent and manage over 20 chronic medical conditions. These include coronary heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes, cancer, obesity, mental health problems and musculoskeletal conditions.
How can we negate the negative impact of inactivity?
And the good news is that we can combat the negative effects of prolonged sitting (total of 8 hours or more). Just 60-75 minutes of moderate intensity physical activity a day will do it!
The reality is that hectic schedules can make it seem impossible to fit workouts into your busy week. The prospect of packing a gym bag, trudging to your local gym, working out, showering, changing, and trudging back to where you came from, can feel like a lot of effort.
But when we neglect exercise, we not only put both our physical and mental health at risk, but we also negatively impact our productivity and effectiveness at work.
And you would be surprised at the number of opportunities there are in a working day, to increase your activity levels. This doesn’t have to mean running or cycling to work, although that’s great if you can. You can in fact accumulate activity that is beneficial to health, in lots of different ways during the day.
Has sitting resulted in injury?
As physical therapists we can help with a wide range of issues caused by long periods of sitting at a desk. Including back and neck pains, tingling in your hands, carpal tunnel syndrome, even regular headaches experienced at work. Please get in touch if you need advice.