A sedentary lifestyle is a type of lifestyle with no or irregular physical activity. It is commonly found in both the developed and developing world. Sedentary activities include sitting, reading, watching television, playing video games, and computer use for much of the day with little or no vigorous physical exercise. A sedentary lifestyle can contribute to many preventable causes of death. Screen time is the amount of time a person spends watching a screen such as a television, computer monitor, or mobile device. 

A lack of physical activity is one of the leading causes of preventable death worldwide. Sitting still may cause premature death. The risk is higher among those that sit still more than 5 hours per day. It is shown to be a risk factor on its own independent of hard exercise and BMI. The more still, the higher risk of chronic diseases. People that sit still more than 4 hours per day have a 40 percent higher risk than those that sit fewer than 4 hours per day. However, those that exercise at least 4 hours per week are as healthy as those that sit fewer than 4 hours per day.

Symptoms

  • weight gain
  • muscle bulk loss
  • fatigue

Associated diseases

  • cardiovascular disease
  • colon cancer
  • diabetes
  • obesity
  • osteoporosis
  • menopause

Complications

  • anxiety
  • depression
  • high blood pressure
  • spinal disc herniation (low back pain)
  • lipid disorders
  • mortality in adults

Risk factors

  • watching TV
  • working/playing on the computer
  • driving a car

Prevention

Independent of physical activity, a person with a large amount of sedentary time may still be at risk of poor health outcomes. Consequently, besides meeting physical activity guidelines it is also recommended to limit the amount of sedentary time. International recommendations for the whole population promote a minimum of 150 minutes of at least moderate physical activity per week (accumulated in at least 10-minute bouts) and a restriction on extended periods of sedentary behaviour for promoting and maintaining health.

Physical inactivity are often found to be the principal causes of female infertility. Gametes, embryos and uterus seem to be negatively affected by the abnormal hormonal and metabolic environment present in obese man and women. An overweight man has a higher risk of having abnormal sperm. There is now emerging evidence that male obesity impacts negatively on male reproductive potential not only reducing sperm quality, but in particular altering the physical and molecular structure of germ cells in the testes and ultimately mature sperm. Recent data has shown that male obesity also impairs offspring metabolic and reproductive health suggesting that paternal health cues are transmitted to the next generation with the mediator mostly likely occurring via the sperm.

Prolonged sitting and lack of contraction of lower limb muscles may lead to metabolic abnormalities via suppressed action of muscle lipoprotein lipase and insulin, supporting a unique “inactivity physiology” paradigm. Thus, sedentary behaviors may influence health via pathways that are independent of both physical activity and food consumption.

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