Sedentary Lifestyle: 6 Dangerous & Negative Effects

Many of us have jobs that require us to sit all day. And there’s a good chance that when you come home from work or end your workday, you’re so exhausted you just want to sit! If this sounds like you, you have a sedentary lifestyle. And that lack of activity can absolutely be dangerous to your health.

In this article, we’re going to talk about:

  • How your sedentary lifestyle is impacting your BMI
  • How a lack of activity will affect your health
  • The dangerous and negative effects of a sedentary lifestyle

Let’s get moving! Here’s how your inactive lifestyle is damaging your health and well-being.

1. Obesity

It should come as no surprise – a sedentary lifestyle is a major cause of obesity. Obesity is defined as a BMI of 30 or more – if you’re not sure of your BMI, simply divide your weight in kilograms by your height, squared, in meters. Is that number over 30? You’re considered obese.

Studies have proven time and again that exercise and a proper diet are essential to your overall health. And part of that is ensuring that you don’t become overweight or obese. In this guide, we’re going to talk about the specific health risks obesity contributes to. But first, it’s imperative that you understand that a lifestyle that doesn’t allow you enough physical activity will absolutely lead to obesity.

Keep this point in mind as we further explore the dangerous impact of a sedentary lifestyle on your health. Only with this understanding will you be motivated to change the way you move.

  • Your sedentary lifestyle is one of the largest contributors to obesity
  • As you may know, obesity is extremely dangerous to your health
  • Keep this fact in mind as you progress through this guide

2. Heart disease

Your sedentary lifestyle can definitely cause you to be at a greater risk for heart disease. When you’re not up and moving about, you’re more likely to develop conditions like high blood pressure, high cholesterol and more.

Each of these conditions carry their own risks – heart attack, stroke, and other risks are directly related to a high BMI and obesity. As you may know, these conditions aren’t just dangerous – they can be fatal.

Protect yourself from heart disease by safely managing your body mass index. A healthy lifestyle that includes plenty of activity as well as a proper diet can greatly reduce the chance you’ll be diagnosed with heart disease.

  • Obesity is directly linked to heart disease
  • Issues like stroke and high blood pressure aren’t just dangerous – they can be fatal
  • Keep your body at a healthy weight to reduce the risk of heart disease

3. Type 2 diabetes

In 2015, the International Diabetes Federation reported that there were over 400 million people, worldwide, who were living with diabetes. And this disease is no joke. Diabetes can cause:

  • Fatigue
  • Blindness
  • Sores that won’t heal
  • Frequent infection
  • Coma
  • Amputation of extremities
  • Death

This is particularly true if you have a family history of Type 2 diabetes. Fortunately, you can take steps to reduce the risk of diabetes – and you can eliminate it if you’re already been diagnosed.

This, of course, is going to depend on you making some lifestyle changes. First and foremost, make changes to your sedentary habits. Get up and moving and get some physical activity. You’ll also have to watch your diet – talk to your doctor about the correct amount of sugar, carbs, proteins and fats for your eight and your unique condition.

Diabetes is a very dangerous disease, and adult onset diabetes is one of the leading health risks to you if you’re obese and have a sedentary lifestyle. Get up and get moving – it will greatly reduce your risk of this fatal disease.

  • Type 2 diabetes affects over 400 million people worldwide
  • You can prevent or treat diabetes by increasing your activity and improving your diet
  • Ignoring diabetes can lead to serious consequences – including death

4. Certain types of cancers

When you stay home and sit on the couch, you’re increasing your risk of certain types of cancers. Breast cancer and colon cancer are the two biggest risks, but studies have shown that obesity is also linked to uterine, esophageal, pancreatic and kidney cancers.

Folks, that’s serious! It would be so easy to reduce your risk of these life-threatening cancers simply by lowering your BMI and getting a little exercise! So let’s get moving! Experts recommend that adults get 150 minutes of low-intensity exercise each week, or 75 minutes or high-intensity exercise.

Go for a walk after dinner. Jog to the corner store to pick up a few groceries. Take the dog out for a stroll around the neighborhood. Start a pickup basketball game with the neighbors. Exercise doesn’t need to be hard work – it can be quite fun! Or, you can just take it easy and use a standing desk at work.

  • A sedentary lifestyle can increase your risk of certain types of cancer
  • A mere fifteen minutes of exercise, five days each week, can greatly reduce your risk
  • Cancer is often fatal – exercise is a preferable alternative!

5. Blood clots

Another danger of a sedentary lifestyle is one that’s not so obvious – blood clots. There are quite a few conditions that can cause blood clots, including pregnancy, smoking and certain types of cancer. But a sedentary lifestyle and a BMI that’s too high top the list.

So why are blood clots so dangerous? Well, that’s the simple part. They can break loose and move to parts of your body where they can cause serious harm. Blood clots can travel to your lungs, your heart, even your brain. This can mean stroke, heart attack and more.

In other words, blood clots can be fatal. As mentioned, there are a few conditions that can cause them, but if your BMI is too high or if you’re sitting in one place for too long, you’re at a greater risk. Why not get up off your bottom and move around? It can greatly reduce your risk of blood clots.

  • There are a few conditions that cause blood clots, but a sedentary lifestyle tops the list
  • Blood clots are extremely dangerous – they can even be fatal
  • Moving around throughout the day can help prevent blood clots

6. Depression and suicide

Yes, you read that right. A sedentary lifestyle and a high BMI put you at greater risk for depression and suicide. There are quite a few clinical studies that have been done on this correlation, and those studies point to a few different reasons.

The general idea of this connection includes the following points:

  • When you exercise, your body releases “feel good” hormones like oxytocin – when you’re lethargic and sedentary it does not
  • When you’re overweight, you feel more negatively about your body image
  • You may be more likely to be solitary if you’re uncomfortable with your weight
  • Obesity and a sedentary lifestyle can cause health concerns that may “bring you down”

In other words, if you’re not moving around and maintaining a normal BMI and a positive body image, you’re more at risk for mood disorders.

If you do feel depressed, or if you feel like harming yourself or others, please contact your local helpline.

  • In the US – 1-800-273-8255 (1-800-SUICIDE)
  • In the UK – 116 123
  • In Australia – 13 11 14
  • In Canada – 1-833-456-4566

If you’re unsure of the hotline in your area, a simple Google search for “suicide hotline” will give you the number to call. Can’t find one? Please be in touch with a trusted friend or family member.

How can I Become More Active?

We’re so glad you’ve decided to take steps to add a bit of physical activity to your daily routine! It’s not hard to do – it’s actually quite simple. Here are a few tips and tricks you can try to get moving again!

  • You’ve heard it before – park in the furthest spot and walk to the mall, the office or the grocery store
  • Take the stairs instead of the elevator or the escalator
  • Get the family moving! Take a walk after supper, go to the park and play ball together or just play with the family dog
  • Get a weight loss buddy who can help you stay on track, and stay accountable to one another
  • Spend time outdoors – the movement will come naturally (no pun intended)
  • Try a standing desk at work rather than that comfy swivel chair
  • Find a YouTube or other video workout you love – even a kids’ yoga class is a great way to stay moving!

Remember that staying active doesn’t have to be a burden – it can actually be fun! However you choose to move, it’s just important that you keep your BMI in a healthy range and keep your body moving.


A sedentary lifestyle and a high BMI can lead to some very dangerous consequences. Diabetes, depression, even death… Keep your body moving and maintain a healthy weight; you’ll be on your way to better health right away!

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