Today more than ever, the United States is experiencing an epidemic of “sitting disease”, a lifestyle of sedentary. This is becoming even more prevalent in the lives of today’s seniors, leading to stiff joints, chronic illnesses and sometimes just laziness and boredom shown to be life threatening. Research from credible sources, such as the American Cancer Society, is beginning to show there are dangers of a sedentary lifestyle that can be harmful, especially to older individuals whose health may already be compromised. Certain health conditions linked to sitting disease include increased obesity, hypertension, heart disease, strokes and hypertension.
Due to technology advances, people are spending more time sitting in front of the television, connecting with friends and family on social media sites, shopping and paying the bills on the Internet. When one is sedentary, his or her metabolism slows down, circulation flow decreases and the muscles become stiff and weakened.
Dangers of a Sedentary Lifestyle
According to the Centers for Disease Control, obesity is a common, serious and costly disease that formulates from a sedentary lifestyle. More than one-third of the United States adults (about 35.7%) are obese. Conditions that are related to obesity include heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes and a variety of cancers. Ultimately obesity can lead to preventable death. It is amazing to note that the estimated annual medical cost for an obese adult in the United States is about $147 billion.
Diabetes is also another notable condition related to the “sitting disease”. It affects 25.8 million people, a devastating 8.3% of the United States population a statistic noted by the Centers for Disease Control. It is estimated that 18.8 million people are diagnosed with diabetes, but 7 million are unaccounted for. Seniors aged 65 years and older make up 10.9 million of these numbers, making up for a large piece, 26.9%, of the “United States Diabetes Pie-Graph”. Diabetes is the leading cause of kidney failure, lower-limb amputations, and blindness among adults. Also, it is a major cause for heart disease and stroke and is the seventh leading cause of death in the United States.
Facts from the Centers for Disease Control report on heart disease states that about 600,000 people die of heart disease in the United States every year – that is an amazing statistic of 1 in every 4 deaths. The disease is a major cause of death for all individuals and more than half of the deaths in the year 2009 were mainly men. With a sedentary lifestyle, heart attacks are very prevalent, causing in the United States alone, about 715,000 attacks a year. Of course staying active and preventing the above-mentioned conditions is the key to avoiding any burden of disease.
When the body is in motion, oxygen is flowing more fluently to the lungs, tissues and other organs, which in turn improves mobility and muscle flexibility. Including regular physical activity into an individual’s life is one of the most important things he or she can do for optimum health. It helps to control body weight, reduces risk of disease and diabetes, reduces risk of some cancers and increases the chances of living longer. Rigorous exercise makes the body perspire, which in turn pushes toxins out of the body. Seniors who move and exercise tend to lower their need to go to the doctor, which in turn reduces healthcare costs.
Exercising, or just simply moving around, can surely benefit anyone in several ways. One of the biggest advantages to exercising is how it can help to overcome a sedentary lifestyle. Below is a comprehensive list of the many benefits of getting and staying active:
- Makes you more energetic
- Increases your metabolism
- Inspires an individual to be more active as they begin to see results
- Improves an individual’s self-worth
- Overall health benefits
The dangers of a sedentary lifestyle are not worth the continuous sitting that causes terrible life threatening diseases. Staying active, exercising, even just getting up to do the dishes or opting for the steps rather than the elevator are great ways to begin a ‘movement moment’. Get up and get out, you won’t ever regret it.