Do you have a sedentary lifestyle? Find out how it affects your health

Did you know? Leading a sedentary lifestyle is just as harmful as smoking.

A sedentary lifestyle, characterized by prolonged periods of sitting or low levels of physical activity. And for many of us who work in an office, we may find ourselves sitting too long at our desks, without getting up to move around.

Long hours at work also means that many of us may not have the time to exercise regularly.

A study done in 2017 shows that long sitting times were associated with exhaustion during the working day, decreased job satisfaction, hypertension, and musculoskeletal disorder symptoms in the shoulders, lower back, thighs, and knees of office workers.[1]

Another study also shows that for each two-hour increment in sitting time, the risk of obesity and diabetes increases by 5% and 7%, respectively[2].

A research by WHO and the International Labour Office (ILO) estimated that in 2016, 398,000 deaths associated with stroke and 347,000 with heart disease were linked to working more than 55 hours per week. The number of deaths associated with heart disease increased by 42%, and for stroke, 19% between 2010 and 2016.[3]

Other risks involve mental health issues such as depression and anxiety, risk of certain types of cancer, including colon, breast, and endometrial cancer, and even cognitive decline.

Here are some ways you can combat a sedentary lifestyle:

  • Set Realistic Goals: Start by setting achievable goals for increasing physical activity. Set specific, measurable, and attainable targets, such as walking a certain number of steps per day or engaging in at least 30 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise most days of the week.
  • Incorporate Movement Into Daily Routine: Look for opportunities to incorporate movement into your daily activities. Take the stairs instead of the elevator, walk or bike for short trips instead of driving, and stand or walk around during phone calls or meetings.
  • Use Activity Trackers: Wearable activity trackers, such as fitness bands or smartwatches, can help monitor your daily activity levels, including steps taken, distance traveled, and calories burned. Use these devices to set activity goals and track your progress over time.
  • Take Regular Breaks: Break up long periods of sitting or sedentary behavior by taking short breaks to stand, stretch, or move around. Set reminders to get up and move every hour, even if it’s just for a few minutes.
  • Incorporate Exercise Into Leisure Time: Instead of spending leisure time in sedentary activities like watching TV or playing video games, choose active hobbies and recreational activities that involve movement. Consider activities such as hiking, swimming, dancing, or playing sports.
  • Create a Supportive Environment: Create an environment that supports an active lifestyle by making small changes to your surroundings. Keep exercise equipment, such as dumbbells or resistance bands, easily accessible at home, and create a dedicated space for physical activity.
  • Set Regular Exercise Challenges: Challenge yourself to try new activities, set personal fitness goals, or participate in events such as charity walks, 5K runs, or group fitness challenges. Having a goal to work towards can help keep you motivated and accountable.

Overall, adopting a more active lifestyle and reducing sedentary behavior is essential for maintaining optimal health and well-being. Incorporating regular physical activity into daily routines, such as walking, cycling, or exercising, can help mitigate the negative effects of a sedentary lifestyle and promote better health outcomes.





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About Dr Adrian Mondry

Dr Adrian Mondry is a Hypertension Specialist accredited by the German Hypertension League in Singapore. He was previously a senior consultant in the department of medicine at the National University Hospital and Ng Teng Fong General Hospital (NTFGH), Dr Mondry has more than 30 years of experience in the field of internal medicine.

Dr Adrian Mondry is recognised for his leadership and contributions in establishing the dedicated hypertension clinic within the National University Health System and fast-track deep vein thrombosis service at NTFGH.

Dr Adrian Mondry is fluent in English, German and French.

About Kaizen Medical

Kaizen Medical is located at Mount Elizabeth Novena Specialist Centre, Suite 11-57.

At Kaizen, we provide in depth health care to patients with multi-organs diseases; tackling undifferentiated presentations that cannot be easily assigned to a single organ.

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