Sedentary lifestyle

from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Lack of exercise often leads to obesity.

A lack of exercise is a civilization phenomenon that is caused by changes in professional and working life with the trend towards predominantly sedentary activities in modern industrial society . These activities do not correspond to the physical activity required in earlier times that was necessary to secure nutrition, such as B. Hunting and agriculture .

Extent of lack of exercise

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), 1.4 billion people around the world move so little that it increases their risk of cardiovascular diseases, type 2 diabetes, dementia and various types of cancer. According to the WHO definition, there is a sedentary lifestyle if at least 150 minutes of exercise per week or 75 minutes of exercise per week are not performed. With 42.2 percent of the population, Germany occupies a top position among the industrialized countries, ahead of the USA with 40 percent and the United Kingdom with 36 percent (as of 2016). Between 2001 and 2016, the prevalence of physical inactivity in Germany rose by more than 15%. According to the WHO, Germany is one of the countries with the greatest increase, alongside Brazil, Bulgaria, the Philippines and Singapore. In 2019, the WHO published a study according to which, on average, 81 percent of young people worldwide exercise less than an hour a day.

Consequences of a sedentary lifestyle

The consequences of the increasing lack of exercise are serious: a large part of the population suffers from chronic back pain . In addition to malnutrition and smoking, lack of exercise is one of the most common causes of lifestyle diseases , such as B. high blood pressure , diabetes mellitus , coronary artery disease and allergies . The societal costs of diseases caused or favored by lack of exercise are very high. A population study also identified a lack of exercise as a decisive risk factor for the occurrence of Alzheimer's disease .

According to the WHO, around 600,000 people in Europe die of physical inactivity every year . By overweight and obesity die more 1,000,000. In Germany, children exercise too little: only around 24% of eleven-year-old girls exercise an hour or more per day. This also applies to about every third boy of the age of eleven. Experts are already talking about a “ generation of chips ”, named after the book by clinic managers Edmund Fröhlich and Susanne Finsterer with the subtitle “Computers and fast food - what drives our children to obesity”.

The risk of death increases by 56% within 20 years if you exercise little, by 52% from smoking, by 31% from poor nutrition and by 26% from heavy alcohol.

All age groups are affected by the problem. Sitting more in kindergarten already lays the foundation for later lack of exercise. The "fat child" will not move enough later either. In general, it can be assumed that under normal living conditions in healthy adults the skeletal muscles already lose their performance after the second to third decade of life. The loss of mass is the most noticeable change in the skeletal muscle. It starts around mid twenties. By the age of 80, around half of the muscle mass has disappeared. This is associated with a significant loss of strength, which can have a significant impact on performance, quality of life and health. Up to the age of 45 the loss of strength is approx. 5% per decade of life. After that, an accelerated loss occurs by approx. 10% per decade of life. There is a gradual decrease in muscle strength and endurance, and the work economy of the muscles also decreases. Examinations therefore increasingly emphasize the importance of muscle strength, especially for elderly and old people: It is central to being able to carry out daily activities such as running, lifting and climbing stairs independently and over the long term. A weight training thus contributing significantly to the increase of the efficiency and quality of life in old age.

Physical activity is very important in preventing osteoporosis . Dynamic loading and unloading is also beneficial for the metabolism of cartilage and intervertebral discs.

Even the chronically ill benefit from regular training . If patients were prescribed rest for a long time, nowadays even people with chronic heart failure are allowed to exercise regularly but moderately. In addition to improved resilience, most of those affected also feel a noticeably brighter mood.

Preventive measures against a sedentary lifestyle in the population

Through sports clubs , increased school sport , measures to promote health in the workplace and appeals to the population to do more sport in their free time or to lead an active life , efforts are being made to encourage better physical activity among the population. So-called bonus programs are currently being discussed with the health insurance companies . By reducing contributions, for example, you can achieve that insured persons actively participate in sports clubs and thereby do something for their health and help the insured community to save money.

As weight increases, so can blood pressure. There is hardly any doubt about the direct benefits of physical training for the cardiovascular system. However, 45% of German adults do not do any sport and only one in eight achieves the current recommendations for adequate physical activity .

World Health Organization Global Action Plan

The World Health Organization adopted a global action plan against physical inactivity in 2018. The aim is to reduce physical inactivity by 10% worldwide by 2025 and by 15% by 2030. In order to achieve this, 4 goals were named:

  1. Shaping active societies
  2. Creating an active environment
  3. Promotion of physical activity
  4. Design of active systems

Recent studies

Usually, a lack of exercise is seen as the cause of obesity in children and adults. According to the British study EarlyBird45 , which investigates the relationship between obesity and exercise in children, this assumption confuses cause and effect: it is not the lack of exercise that causes obesity, rather obesity leads to an unwillingness to move.

In Germany, a long-term study by the Robert Koch Institute - KiGGS - examines the health of children and adolescents in Germany, including the causes and consequences of obesity and lack of exercise.

Current studies also focus on the positive effects of regular endurance, strength and coordination exercises on cancer patients.

Current results show that an everyday life characterized by long periods of sitting ("sedentary lifestyle") has negative effects that cannot be easily compensated for by physical activity. The lack of standing, walking, and exercise leads to decreased insulin sensitivity and other metabolic disorders. Findings suggest that exercising in people who are otherwise physically inactive has less positive effects on metabolism than in those who are physically active.

Sedentary lifestyle in the workplace

Due to the constant decrease in the physical workload and the increasing number of office and computer workstations, more and more employees are affected by a lack of exercise in the workplace. Professionals often recommend recreational exercise to make up for the lack of physical activity at work. However, many people fail to incorporate time for exercise into their everyday lives. In addition, the negative effects of long periods of sitting cannot be reduced by occasional sporting activities, nor is the metabolic rate increased. Therefore, an increase in the level of activity at the workplace appears to be sensible, for example through regular exercise offers for work breaks.

Another solution could be dynamic workstations: They replace or supplement the office chair with movement elements such as treadmills , bicycle ergometers or steppers (sports equipment) . The first such products are already available in the USA.

A study by the IFA compared two dynamic workstation variants with a classic sitting and a conventional standing workstation. Physical activity, heart rate and energy expenditure are significantly increased at the dynamic work stations. Depending on the type and intensity of movement, the energy expenditure increases by up to 100 percent. At the same time, the work result remains largely unaffected by the activating measures. However, the test subjects expressed reservations about this form of workplace: Ungonomic design and distraction are the main reasons for this. In principle, dynamic workstations can make a contribution to promoting the health of employees, but they still need to be improved.

Another study tested the desk ergometer "Deskbike" and the under-desk device "activeLifeTrainer" for their suitability in offices. Lending and usage behavior, physiological effects, user motivation , subjectively perceived practicability and well-being were recorded. Overall, the devices were used for almost one hour per day on 40% of the days within the intervention period, the desk bike somewhat more frequently. Both devices increase energy expenditure and heart rate , are perceived as being useful and do not interfere with work. An improvement in general well-being results from using it two to three times a week.

Web links

Wiktionary: Sedentary lifestyle  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations

Individual evidence

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