6 Warning Signs of a Sedentary Lifestyle

Written by Dr. Veena Madhankumar and medically reviewed by iCliniq medical review team


Leading a sedentary or inactive lifestyle or being a couch potato, or not exercising means that you lead a lifestyle that involves a lot of sitting and lying down and little to no exercise. People worldwide are spending more time doing sedentary activities, such as sitting while using a laptop, playing video games, and watching TV. And with the pandemic and most of us working from home, our lifestyle has become more sedentary.

An inactive lifestyle results in weight gain as you burn fewer calories, loss of muscle strength, weaker bones, low immunity, hormonal imbalance, and more inflammation. You are at risk of obesity, heart diseases, high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, depression, colon and breast cancer, and osteoporosis. Your body will show some or all of the following signs when you are moving a lot less than you should:


1. Tiredness


When you have an inactive lifestyle, you tend to feel tired all the time. Not moving your muscles makes them weaker, resulting in muscle pain and tiredness. You can also experience muscle cramps and loss of bone density. Your lifestyle affects your metabolism too. All these effects make it hard for you to perform regular activities, making you less productive and feeling tired all day long.

2. Depression


When you work out or perform any physical activity, your body produces endorphin, which is a happy hormone. This hormone, apart from making you feel happy and energetic, is necessary for your overall wellness. Leading a sedentary lifestyle results in you producing less of this hormone, which can make you feel lonely, depressed, and susceptible to major mood swings. If not addressed at the right time, this can quickly escalate to depression and social withdrawal.


3. Sleep Problems


Physically inactive people often find it difficult to fall asleep at night. The sleeping pattern of such people becomes erratic, which not only affects their ability to fall asleep but also their quality of sleep. Even after they manage to sleep, they keep waking up in the middle of the night. This disturbance in the sleep cycle eventually affects the person’s mental and physical health. Such people are at risk of insomnia and other sleep-related disorders.

4. Weight Gain


As you tend to burn fewer calories in a day than what you end up consuming, you tend to put on weight, especially in the belly. If your pants are getting tighter or you no longer fit into your favorite dress, it is time you spend 30 minutes doing moderate exercise every day. This will help burn calories, maintain good blood circulation, and help in weight loss. Thirty minutes is only 2.5 % of your day, and you sure can spend that time on your health.

5. Lower Back Pain


Spending most of your time in bed or on the couch can result in a stiff lower back. Eventually, you will start having constant lower back pain throughout the day. If the back pain is relieved from performing some physical activity, then the cause is your lifestyle and not any underlying condition. A study found that the most common cause of lower back pain is a lack of exercise.

6. Dull Skin


Even after using the same skincare routine, does your skin lackluster and look dull? If yes, then a lack of exercise is to blame. Before buying expensive skin products, start working out. Exercise increases blood flow to your skin, which slows down the aging process. An adequate blood supply provides sufficient oxygen and nutrients to your skin, giving you a desirable glow.


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