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The sedentary lifestyle and how to overcome it

Sep 23, 2022

1 min read
23 September 2022

12:45

South Africa has been identified as having one of the highest rates of inactivity in the world. According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), approximately 47% of all South African adults live sedentary lifestyles, which is more than double the global average of 23%. Moreover, countries with higher inactivity rates include Malaysia, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, and Colombia (in ascending order).

A sedentary lifestyle includes prolonged periods of sitting and inactivity while awake. A sedentary lifestyle includes sitting at a desk all day, sitting in cars or public transport, and sitting on the couch or chair at home. All of which contribute to reduced time for physical activity or movement.

The digital age is believed to have contributed to and magnified the prevalence of sedentary habits. Over the years, job requirements have changed, requiring workers to be seated in front of a desk all day. Digital technologies such as televisions and cell phones used during leisure time have also contributed to the constant need for individuals to sit down.

Ways to overcome sedentary lifestyle habits include increasing physical activity by doing cardiovascular exercises such as running and cycling at least once or twice a week. Other small activities include standing rather than sitting, taking walks during lunch breaks, standing up after every hour of sitting at work, taking the stairs, and being active during leisure time.

Sedentary behaviour is increasing daily, and the problems associated with it are also rising. These include premature mortality, cardiovascular diseases; diabetes mellitus; hypertension; cancer; obesity, depression and cognitive functions and musculoskeletal disorders (osteoarthritis, lower back pain, etc.).

The effects of a sedentary lifestyle are severe but can be reduced by being more active during work and leisure time.

By Naseerah Nanabhai
23-09-2022

kzn@radioislam.org.za

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