A sedentary lifestyle, also known as “sitting lifestyle,” is common among many people. The majority of people who report to any office usually take a seat behind a desk and work in that position for the better part of the day. While, for many, this is a hard workday that leaves them very tired, it has another negative side to it — a sedentary life.
Most of the people who lead sedentary lives are women, who spend an average of 11 hours a day seated. This kind of lifestyle is now proving to pose a great health risk to those who live it, translating into $24 billion in direct medical bills and accounting for 20% of all deaths for people aged 35 years and above, resulting in approximately 300,000 deaths annually. It might surprise you to know that only 6.5% of the American working population meets the basic minimum physical guideline requirements for activity. In addition, 65% of Americans have been found to watch TV for over two hours every day.
Can this sedentary lifestyle worsen menopause symptoms? Read on to uncover the effects that this type of lifestyle can have on menopausal women.
Women might become more critical of their sedentary lifestyles if they were aware of the effect it would have on their mid-life years. A study done on middle-age Hispanic women in Latin America demonstrated that a sedentary lifestyle raises the intensity and frequency of their menopausal symptoms. The study was conducted on 6,079 women across 11 Latin American countries, and it focused on surveys and data collected from the collaborative group of women aged 40 to 59 who were attending any one of the 20 urban health centers.
Sixty-four percent of this group reported to have led a sedentary lifestyle. From this study, there was a marked difference between those who led a sedentary lifestyle and those who led an active lifestyle. Sixteen percent of the women who led a sedentary lifestyle reported that they had severe menopausal symptoms, while only 11% of the active women reported having similar symptoms.
Total menopause scores, as well as individual menopausal symptom scores, were high for the sedentary women as compared to the active ones. In addition, the study also found that the sedentary women were more prone to being obese and also scored high on depression, anxiety and insomnia.
Active Lives For Menopausal Women
Exercise figures prominently among the many menopause treatments recommended for menopausal symptoms. It is generally advised in the medical community that everyone takes time to engage in specific amounts of exercise in any given week. While exercise is critical for overall health to reduce the risk of diseases such as stroke, heart disease and diabetes, among others, it is recommended even more for middle-age women in order to reduce their menopausal symptoms.
It is important to note that, at the time of menopause, a woman is not only undergoing hormonal changes but also aging. With aging, the metabolic rate decreases by more than 20% compared to that of a 20-year-old. This is why it becomes very difficult for a woman to lose weight during her middle-age years.
In addition, most of the body organs do not operate as efficiently as we age. Exercise helps to enhance the operations of these organs as it assists in increasing their blood flow, which is critical in supplying the much-needed nutrients and oxygen. The mind is also able to function more effectively in such a state, thereby reducing stress, anxiety and depression.
With the enhanced functioning of the body organs as well as metabolism, the body is able to eliminate unwanted fats, leading to a healthy weight. A woman who is active is also able to sleep properly compared to a sedentary woman, thereby reducing the risk of insomnia, hot flashes and night sweats, among others.
There are particular exercises, such as strength exercises, flexibility exercises and aerobics, that play a critical role in ensuring a menopausal woman is in shape. Strength exercises help a woman build stronger bones and joints; flexibility exercises help to ensure less risk of a fracture in case of a fall or an accident; anaerobic exercises ensure that the cardiovascular system is safeguarded.
It is important that every woman takes time to consider her lifestyle, whether active or sedentary. Those who have been leading a sedentary lifestyle may have to make provisions for 30 minutes a day of active exercise, such as brisk walking. This will actually decrease the estimated $24 billion direct expenditure on medical bills and improve the productivity of women in their area of employment. The women are bound to feel better about themselves due to weight loss and have a better quality of life with diminished menopausal symptoms. It is also important, however, to incorporate healthy eating habits along with exercise.