Sedentary Life Has a Cost for the Heart

woman in yellow long sleeve standing under the sunlight

Lack of exercise and physical activity is a well-known cause of weight gain. This principle and biological fact goes back generations. In fact, it was idolized in newspapers and comic books that exercise and weightlifting could produce a muscular body that would be attractive and fend off bullies at the beach. Today, however, it has become a national health problem; office life, excessive work hours and work that involves extensive hours sitting have produced countless cases of health problems and chronic medical issues. Worst of all, it has contributed to a rise in heart disease as well.

A Lack of Movement

A human being can easily go through life without regular strenuous exercise and still be healthy. However, when the body literally spends 15 waking hours a day sitting, this equates to a sedentary lifestyle. Work wasn’t always like this; many professions and jobs involved standing up, moving around, and lifting. However, over the decades, especially as the U.S. moved from manufacturing to service and after the computer arrived, work became an un-moving life in a cubicle. That in turn has created a whole generation of health problems as a result, especially with people who started their careers in the 1990s when the Internet really became established for daily use and communication.

In addition to the above, sedentary living also does a negative number on the digestive system. The body is designed to be standing and moving, but sitting compacts the system and causes the body’s core muscles to weaken. Movement of food material through the body starts to malfunction, and that starts to create indigestion as well as digestive tract problems. Gas, constipation, cramping and more start to occur over time and increase.

Reversal is Very Easy

Fortunately, the damage caused by sedentary living, even with years of it, can be reversed very quickly. By simply walking and then increasing the pace daily and then exercising with even more movement over time can produce big results within days and weeks. Initially, a person will start to sleep better and have more energy. Then blood pressure health will increase. After a few weeks, one may even start to see a small bit of weight fall off, significant energy increase will occur, digestion will improve and sleep will usually be much deeper and consistent. After a few months, weight loss starts to be noticeable, and blood sugar levels start to move back into a healthy range.Ideally, per Dr. Ian Weisberg, a cardiac heart doctor with over 20 years of experience in treatment, exercise should reach at least 150 minutes a week for consistent results. That can be all types of activity as long as it moves the body and does so with enough strain to increase one’s heart rate and pressure to an elevated health level for 10 minutes (check with a physician before starting though). Most importantly, patients don’t need to be perfect the first day; it’s a process of progression up to that level with improved exercise over time.