Physical Inactivity, Sedentary Behavior, and Metabolic Syndrome. If you find yourself sitting all day on the couch or in front of the computer, not having the time, or making out the time to exercise, then you are setting yourself up for some serious health issues long term. Physical inactivity and sedentary behaviour can lead to various health issues, one of which is metabolic syndrome. This is important to be aware of because it can lead to serious and chronic illnesses.
There’s no doubt that we’re a sedentary society. We sit in front of the TV, at our desks and in our cars for hours on end. And while a little bit of sitting here and there might not seem like a big deal, new research suggests that all of that sitting could be putting us at risk for metabolic syndrome — a cluster of risk factors that raises your chances for heart disease, stroke and diabetes.
So what is metabolic syndrome? Basically, it’s a combination of conditions including high blood pressure, high blood sugar, excess body fat around the waist and abnormal cholesterol levels. And it can occur even in people who are physically active.
The good news is that metabolic syndrome is reversible and preventable. The key is to get up and move more throughout the day.
What is Sedentary Behavior?
There are a lot of talks these days about the health risks associated with being sedentary. But what is sedentary behaviour, and why is it bad for us? Sedentary behaviour is defined as any activity that burns fewer than 200 calories per day. This includes activities like watching TV, using the computer or reading.
Sedentary behaviour has been linked to a number of health problems, including obesity, heart disease, diabetes, and cancer. One of the reasons it’s so harmful is because when we’re sedentary, we tend to eat more. We also don’t burn as many calories, which can lead to weight gain.
Another reason sedentary behaviour is so harmful is that it can lead to muscle loss. When we’re not active, our muscles start to atrophy or shrink.
The Dangers of Sedentary Behavior: How Does It Cause Metabolic Syndrome?
Most people think that in order to maintain a healthy weight and prevent health problems, they need to exercise regularly. However, what many people do not know is that simply sitting down for long periods of time can also have negative consequences on their health. In fact, research has shown that sedentary behaviour is a major risk factor for metabolic syndrome, a condition that can lead to heart disease and type 2 diabetes. This article will explore the dangers of sedentary behaviour, how it can cause metabolic syndrome, and ways you can prevent it.
Metabolic Syndrome Explained
Metabolic syndrome refers to a group of metabolic disorders, including elevated blood pressure, obesity, dyslipidemia, high blood sugar, excess fat around the waist, and abnormal cholesterol levels.
Several factors can increase your chances of developing metabolic syndrome, including extended physical inactivity, or sedentary behaviour. Your age and ethnicity, along with other existing diseases are also contributing factors. People who are highly sedentary are more likely to develop metabolic syndrome.
It’s a chain reaction. Sedentary behaviours that result in a lack of physical activity can make you obese. Insulin helps sugar enter your muscle cells and burn it as fuel. With insulin resistance, sugar can’t enter the cells as effectively as it should, resulting in persistently high levels of blood sugar.
When you’re obese, your body is less sensitive to insulin, which means your body has a hard time using and therefore reducing blood sugar. When you develop metabolic syndrome, it can lead to increased risks of type 2 diabetes and heart diseases. Worse, it can also cause premature death.
What Are the Symptoms of Metabolic Syndrome?
Metabolic syndrome is a condition that is characterized by a cluster of risk factors that increase the chance of developing heart disease, stroke, and diabetes. These risk factors include high blood pressure, high blood sugar, excess body fat around the waist, and abnormal cholesterol levels. You are more likely to have metabolic syndrome if you are older, overweight, or have a family history of the condition.
How to Reduce Your Risk of Developing Metabolic Syndrome
Since we already understand that metabolic syndrome is a collection of risk factors that increase your chance of developing heart disease, stroke, and diabetes. You can reduce your risk of developing metabolic syndrome by making healthy lifestyle changes, such as eating a healthy diet and getting regular exercise.
Why Physical Activities Are Important in Preventing Metabolic Syndrome
We know that exercise is important, yet many people still don’t bother to get up and exercise. It’s only when they experience health problems and are advised medically to do something about it, or suffer the consequences, that they do.
A lack of physical activity can increase insulin resistance and abdominal fat, leading to metabolic syndrome. Physical activities play an important role in preventing and treating metabolic syndrome. It’s also necessary to understand your underlying risk factors so you can identify targeted intervention through physical activities.
Metabolic syndrome can cause inflammation in the body, and most of the time, that makes engaging in physical activities less desirable and even painful. However, for the sake of your health and your longevity, you must overcome that resistance physically and psychologically.
Exercise can provide many of the benefits needed to help prevent metabolic syndrome.
Here are some of those benefits of exercise.
- It regulates body fat and glucose metabolism.
- It increases insulin sensitivity.
- It lowers blood pressure.
- It increases muscle mass.
- It burns calories faster even when at rest.
- It helps reduce weight.
- It improves lipid disorders.
- It helps you sleep better.
How You Can Prevent Metabolic Syndrome with Exercise
Combating physical inactivity and overcoming sedentary behaviours are key to fighting metabolic syndrome.
If you’re transitioning from a complete lack of physical activity and a longtime sedentary lifestyle, starting with small changes is important. Begin with light exercises then move to moderate intensity.
Moderate exercises are sufficient enough to help reduce your risks of metabolic syndrome. However, you may want to do increased amounts of vigorous exercise too to see the biggest improvements.
Just remember not to go too hard too soon. It may shock and harm your body, especially your heart if you’ve been sedentary for too long and then suddenly engage in extreme physical activities.
Get Up and Start Now
Get up, start exercising, and be consistent. Stay committed to your program and know that every little movement that you do matters. Start by walking each day and remember to take as many breaks as you need.
Once you have integrated exercise into your routine comfortably, increase the duration over time and then increase intensity. Ideally, you should be able to get to a point where you can exercise for at least 30 minutes on most days of the week.
It also helps to track your progress. Use a pedometer or your smartphone’s health app. Set goals! How many steps per day do you want to walk? You may have heard of walking 10,000 steps a day. If that sounds like a good goal for you, why not try to achieve it every day.
Don’t forget to celebrate your milestones. It will keep you motivated and committed to your goal of saying goodbye to a sedentary lifestyle and removing the risks of metabolic syndrome.
Sedentary behaviour is a risk factor for metabolic syndrome. If you are concerned about your health and would like to reduce your risk of developing this condition, be sure to get moving! There are plenty of ways to be active, so find something you enjoy and stick with it. By incorporating regular physical activity into your life, you can improve your overall health and reduce your risk of developing metabolic syndrome.