The Physics of a Sedentary Lifestyle

DeskJockeyNumerous reports in the medical literature show that the life expectancy of those who are sedentary is comparable to those who smoke or have high blood pressure. Yet, most people also do not realize the dangers of not exercising. If you know how bad smoking is to your physical condition and realize what high blood pressure does to your arteries, you know why you don’t want to have a lifestyle that can cause similar problems.

Sedentary. Look it up in the dictionary. It’s an adjective that describes a person who does a lot of sitting and correspondingly little exercise. Few relate sitting on the couch or sitting all day at a desk to being that harmful.  But, these same studies on exercise show that two-thirds of Americans are not active on a regular basis and over half of Americans are completely sedentary.

If you medically study sedentary patients, you will find health problem numbers similar to those of smokers. The couch potato usually gets overweight, frequently develops diabetes and high blood pressure, and ends up with a heart attack or stroke. There are so many secondary diseases associated with being sedentary that the numbers closely resemble those seen by people who smoke.

The Framingham Heart Study shows that something as simple as brisk walking for thirty minutes daily can increase your life expectancy by years. Brisk walking doesn’t seem like much exercise compared to running a marathon. But when you’ve made thirty minutes of brisk walking a day your goal, you’ve done so much more than extend your life expectancy!




“Desk” photo courtesy of DavidCastilloDomonici at