Sedentary lifestyle: Effects On Health and Tips to Become Active


Medically reviewed by

Bajaj Finserv Health

Aarogya Care

4 min read

Key Takeaways

  • Around 31% of people over 15 years lead a sedentary lifestyle
  • A sedentary lifestyle can cause obesity, depression, and diabetes
  • Sedentary lifestyle diseases can be fatal so make sure to be active

A sedentary lifestyle or an inactive lifestyle is one with a lack of physical activity. A study states that around 31% of people over the age of 15 years lead a sedentary lifestyle [1]. The same study also stated that this inactivity is a factor in about 3.2 million deaths every year. A sedentary lifestyle is very unhealthy and can lead to an increased risk of serious issues such as:

  • Cardiovascular disease

  • Cancer

  • Obesity

  • Depression 

Unfortunately, there are several contributors linked to sedentary behavior. Some common reasons are:

  • Lifestyle choices

  • Employment status

  • Occupation [2]

  • Poor participation in physical activity

  • Pollution

  • Traffic congestion

  • TV viewing

These are some causes of sedentary lifestyle [3], and many of these become habits in our everyday lives. Read on to how a sedentary lifestyle effects your health.

Additional Read: 6 Effective Lifestyle Habits to Stay Healthy While at Home

sedentary lifestyle

Sedentary Lifestyle Effects

Being inactive has consequences on both physical and mental wellbeing. A sedentary lifestyle may have the effects like:

  • Poor blood circulation

  • Inflammation in your body

  • Development of hormonal imbalance

  • Slow metabolism

  • Loss of muscle strength and stamina

  • Trouble breaking down fats and sugars

  • Weakened immune system

  • Weight gain

  • Weaker bones

  • Reduced flexibility

  • Impaired ability to regulate blood sugar and BP

Sedentary Lifestyle Diseases

Your inactivity could also cause serious health problems. A sedentary lifestyle will increase the risk of diseases such as:

  • Stroke

  • Obesity

  • Type 2 diabetes

  • High cholesterol

  • High blood pressure

  • Osteoporosis

  • Metabolic syndrome

  • Anxiety and depression

  • Heart diseases

  • Musculoskeletal problems

  • Cancers

    • Colon

    • Breast

    • Uterine cancer

  • Coronary artery disease and heart attack

How to Become More Active?

There are many ways in which you can get more active throughout the day. You don’t need to go to a gym or enroll in a special program. Simply try to make healthier choices, such as these.

Go for a Walk

Walking is a quick and easy way to exercise. Doing it often can keep you healthy. Walking offers many health benefits. It can help:

  • Control blood sugar levels
  • Reduce stress
  • Regulate your heart rate

Track the Time You Sit

Track the time you spend sitting at the office and at home. Once you know how much time you spend sitting, make efforts to reduce it. Take breaks often, walk, and stretch every few hours. You can even try desk exercises!

Choose the Stairs

One of the best ways to combat a sedentary lifestyle is to do things that require a greater deal of effort. Climbing stairs is a great example and it burns more calories than jogging. The next time you have to get somewhere on the first or second floor, use the stairs. Make the conscious choice and soon it will become second nature to do the healthier thing.

Stand While Working

Sitting for long hours causes bad posture and back pain. While working, try standing for 15 to 30 minutes every few hours. Having a taller desk can help you work while standing up. This will help you reduce living a sedentary lifestyle.

Change the Mode of Commuting

When travelling short distances, consider walking or cycling. These are good cardiovascular exercises and can benefit the environment too. For the most part, you are physically inactive when you commute by car or bus.

Eat Healthier

If you have a sedentary lifestyle, it is likely that you’re burning fewer calories. This can lead to serious issues down the line. To avoid this, eat healthier and track your intake. If you can’t be more physically active, make changes to your diet so that your inactivity doesn’t lead to problems.

Exercise Regularly

Exercising daily promotes physical and mental health. It helps you maintain weight and reduce the risks of a sedentary lifestyle. You can do stretching exercises at the workplace or make out time in your schedule for exercise.

Additional Read: How to Improve your Diet and Lifestyle with these Simple Ayurvedic Tips

Your health is a priority and you should treat it like one. Take out time for yourself and be mindful of your choices. Quit unhealthy lifestyle habits and find ways to be healthier with everyday tasks. For proper guidance and recommendations on being healthier, consult a professional. Book appointments on Bajaj Finserv Health and schedule regular health check-ups with ease. Get tips from experts to tackle your sedentary lifestyle and keep diseases at bay.

Published on 19 Nov 2021Last updated on 30 Aug 2022

Please note that this article is solely meant for informational purposes and Bajaj Finserv Health Limited (“BFHL”) does not shoulder any responsibility of the views/advice/information expressed/given by the writer/reviewer/originator. This article should not be considered as a substitute for any medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always consult with your trusted physician/qualified healthcare professional to evaluate your medical condition. The above article has been reviewed by a qualified doctor and BFHL is not responsible for any damages for any information or services provided by any third party.


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