Sit down to eat breakfast. Sit on the bus to school for 30 minutes. Sit through six 50 minute lessons. Sit on the bus home for another 30 minutes. Sit on your sofa and binge watch your favourite shows until your parents put it to a stop.
What I have described is one of the many types of sedimentary lifestyle routines that have trapped a significant group of people in this century. Although this example makes it seem like a sedimentary lifestyle only applies to a younger person, someone in school, it certainly doesn’t. With just a simple adjustment regarding the activities described, you are likely to be a perfect participant of this toxic lifestyle without even knowing it.
For example, replace school with a 9 to 5 office job and that description has politely summed up a large percentage of the working class. Replace lessons with university lectures and most young adults will soon start to see themselves in this lifestyles reflection. Replace binging your favourite show with watching the Premier League and many sport fanatic dads will be able to relate all too well.
So what is a sedimentary lifestyle? The definition of a sedimentary lifestyle is a life with no physical activity or irregular physical activity. This can take different forms such as: reading, working, watching television, playing video games, scrolling through social media, eating and computer use as long as the individual is simultaneously sitting down and not engaging in any form of physical movement.
A common misconception about sedimentary lifestyles is that they are only undertaken by the lazy, lethargic people of society who have lost all their existent drive and motivation and feed this mentality with countless and endless hours in front of the television. This type of person is casually referred to as a coach potato by many people. Whilst this is definitely a category of a sedimentary lifestyle, and a stereotypical one, this lifestyle can play out in a vast range of other forms on different ends of a wide spectrum. The common denominator of every sedimentary lifestyle is sitting. Another important common trait of this lifestyle is lack of physical activity. The longer you sit down, the more you are indulging in the unhealthy life you never even knew you were engulfed within. And sitting and a lack of physical activity come hand in hand.
This is the lie about your lifestyle that you have always believed.
So whether you spend all day feeding your thirst for success at your desk like every other workaholic, or you order take away as a daily routine whilst watching television or you simply life live avoiding sports and physical activity at all costs. You have fallen victim to a sedimentary lifestyle.
There are many harmful effects of this way of life. These include obesity, coronary heart disease, osteoporosis and death at an extreme. These three consequences all have damaging effects to cardiovascular fitness and in the long term can damage the physical appearance of your body and its physical capabilities. Osteoporosis is when bones in the body- mostly in the spine, wrist and hips- become frail and thin, meaning they break easily. Osteoporosis can develop over time and a sedimentary lifestyle acts as its catalyst. This increases the risk of injury in daily life and can cause an individuals bones to break more easily than the average person. Sitting down compresses bones in the body and weakens them making a sedimentary individual feel lethargy on an exaggerated scale compared to someone who is active. A good way to counter osteoporosis is to participate in weight bearing activities like running or swimming. This is because they increase bone strength and help to increase the stamina that a sedimentary lifestyle robs you of.
Another consequence is obesity. This is a more obvious and acquired consequence that isn’t a direct occursnce just due to a sedimentary life. However, a sedimentary lifestyle accompanied with poor eating habits makes it incredibly easy to fall down the road of becoming obese, over fat or overweight. Being overweight has many by product problems like coronary heart disease, cancer and other illnesses. By sitting down and limiting physical activity for a long period of time, fat is more likely to store on an individuals body which in due time can lead to obesity and its other inevitable problems.
The last consequence of this lifestyle is coronary heart disease. This is caused by a build up of fatty deposits in the walls of the arteries. This results in the disability of the arteries to transfer oxygen efficiently due to the narrowing of the arteries. Due to a reduced pathway size, oxygen is blocked from reaching the lungs which can cause a heart attack. A sedimentary lifestyle increases the risk of coronary heart disease because it means that fatty acids can form quickly in your arteries. As a result of this, coronary heart disease is one of the main known consequence of lack of exercise.
‘Exercise should be regarded as a tribute to the heart’- Gene Tunney. Excercise should not be a lifestyle advertised for only sports men and women. As Gene has stated, it should be regarded as a tribute to the heart and it works to sustain your body and its many functions.
This is why you should never underestimate the negative effect that sitting down has on you. The coach potatoes myth is definitely existent but this doesn’t mean you should exclude yourself from realising your living a sedimentary lifestyle.