loader image

Sedentary lifestyle

What is sedentary living?
Sedentary lifestyle refers to a way of life that does not involve much movement. Here, we use the term sedentary lifestyle to refer to the habit of a large proportion of Belgians of sitting down most of the time.

Are we sitting too much?
A sedentary lifestyle is one of the scourges of our lifestyle. Lack of physical activity is an extremely widespread cardiovascular risk factor. More than one in three Belgians of all ages has a sedentary lifestyle.

To get it right, every adult should move for 30 minutes a day and every child (6-20 years) should move for 1 hour through moderate exercise.

Today, more than 90% of young people do not reach the recommended level of physical activity. This is worrying because it is important to train the heart from an early age, particularly through sport, to avoid cardiovascular problems later on.

Why should we move more?
The main reason is simple: physical activities and the effort they require make you feel better and contribute to a better appreciation of yourself.

And that’s not all! In addition to feeling more physically and mentally fit, physical activity helps our bodies stay healthy and reduces the risk of heart and stroke. There’s no mystery about it, regular physical activity has a positive effect on most cardiovascular risk factors, including high blood pressure, blood fat abnormalities and obesity.

But there is more! Independently of other risk factors, sedentary people have a twofold higher risk of cardiovascular disease than active people, which suggests that physical effort has its own cardioprotective effect.

Who needs to move more?

  • Is your belt too tight?
  • Do you run out of breath quickly when climbing stairs?
  • Are you stressed at work?
  • Are you often tired, physically and/or mentally?
  • Have people around you ever suggested that you exercise more?
  • Do you feel that you are not exercising enough?

If you answered yes to any of these questions, there is no doubt that you are not doing enough exercise. Don’t be ashamed, you’re not the only one!

How to move more?
All types of physical activity can reduce cardiovascular risk, so there is plenty of choice. But before thinking about sports or similar activities, you should start by generally “moving” in all circumstances, taking the stairs rather than the lift, walking rather than driving or taking the bus, playing outdoors rather than watching television or the Gameboy, etc. All these activities make your heart work, for its greater good!

Walking is the easiest physical activity to do and is rightly considered to be good for the heart. It requires no special skills or equipment, just good shoes and comfortable, appropriate clothing. And despite its simplicity, it provides the same benefits as more vigorous activities, which are often more risky.

In practice, 30 minutes of brisk, but not breathless, daily walking is the best recommendation for everyone, including those who have already had a heart attack. And if 30 minutes a day seems impossible, remember that three times ten minutes is an equally good alternative, so there is no excuse.

If you don’t like walking, choose another form of activity that you enjoy and feel able to continue on a regular basis. When it comes to physical activity, patience and perseverance are more useful than short-lived feats.

People with a previous heart condition should consult their doctor before undertaking any activity other than walking.

Some ideas for moving more :

  • Walking, cycling or using public transport to work
  • Use stairs instead of lifts
  • Going out for a walk during the lunch break
  • Stand rather than sit whenever possible
  • Measure your activity with a bracelet or smartphone and set goals to gradually reach the minimum of 10,000 steps per day