Does Sedentary Lifestyle lead to Diabetes


Today’s is a sedentary lifestyle – It is a type of lifestyle with no or less physical activity; characterised by sitting or remaining inactive for most of the day with little or no exercise. It is found in both developing and developed nations. It includes sitting, reading, watching T.V., playing video games, mobile phones, and computer use for more time with no vigorous physical activity. Lack of physical activity is a leading cause of preventable death worldwide. The risk is higher among those who sit still for more than 5 hours per day. There are lot of studies around sedentary lifestyle and diabetes emerging and this post covers few of the aspects.

A sedentary lifestyle and lack of physical activity can cause and be a risk factor for various problems as listed:

  • Diabetes
  • Cardiovascular disease
  • Migraines
  • Breast cancer
  • Colon cancer
  • Depression
  • Gout
  • High blood pressure
  • Lipid disorder
  • Skin problems like hair loss
  • Mortality in adults
  • Obesity
  • Osteoporosis
  • Scoliosis
  • Spinal disc herniation (low back pain)

Diabetes is a disease in which blood glucose or blood sugar levels are too high. Glucose comes from the food that we eat. Insulin is a hormone that helps the glucose gets into the cells to give energy. There are three types of Diabetes:


  • Type 1 – It results from the Pancreas’s failure to produce enough insulin
  • Type 2 – It begins with Insulin resistance, a condition in which cells fail to respond to insulin properly
  • Gestational diabetes – It occurs when pregnant women without a previous a history of Diabetes, develop high blood sugar.

Signs and Symptoms of Diabetes

  • Weight loss
  • Polyuria (increased urination)
  • Polydipsia (increased thirst)
  • Polyphagia (increased hunger)
  • Blurry vision
  • Headache
  • Fatigue
  • Slow healing of cuts
  • Itchy skin

Causes of Diabetes

  • Genetic make up
  • Family history
  • Ethnicity
  • Health and environmental factors

Causes of Type 1 Diabetes

There is no specific reason for this type of diabetes, but few may trigger like:

  • Viral or bacterial infection
  • Chemical toxins within food
  • Unidentified component causing an autoimmune reaction

Causes of Type 2 Diabetes

Various risk factors involved are:

  • Obesity
  • Living a sedentary lifestyle
  • Increasing age
  • Bad diet

Causes of Gestational Diabetes

  • Family history of gestational diabetes
  • Overweight or obesity
  • Suffer from polycystic ovary syndrome
  • Have a large baby weighing over 9 lb
  • Miscellaneous Causes of Diabetes
  • Pancreatitis or pancreatectomy
  • Polycystic ovary syndrome
  • Cushing’s syndrome
  • Steroid induced diabetes

Sedentary lifestyle has a great effect on the development of diabetes. Lack of exercise, prolong hours of sitting in offices, stress, excessive eating of food, especially junk has made the people more prone to diabetes. The researchers have found that as sitting time increased the risk of type – 2 diabetes also increases. If the men exercise daily, but sit for more than four hours a day, even then they have a high risk of development of diabetes. The main cause behind this is that the body needs to work harder to absorb sugar and make insulin. This can cause too much stress on the cells that make insulin and hence, cause more risk of diabetes.

Abdominal Obesity


Due to lack of physical activity and more intake of cheap and high-calorie food there is deposition of adipose tissue. Adipose tissue is a mixture of adipocytes, immune cells and endothelium. With obesity and progressive adipocytes enlargement, the blood supply to adipocytes may be reduced with hypoxia. Hypoxia causes necrosis and macrophage infiltration into adipose tissue that leads to overproduction of glycerol, free fatty acids, c – reactive protein, interleukin – 6 which causes localised inflammation in adipose tissue that causes overall systemic inflammation associated with development of obesity.

Obesity and overweight are the main contributors to development of the insulin resistance and impaired glucose intolerance. This occurs through various pathways, including an imbalance in the concentrations of hormones, increased concentration of cytokines and other inflammatory signals. When insulin secretion is no longer sufficient to overcome insulin resistance, glucose intolerance progresses to type – 2 diabetes.

There are many chronic over nourished, overweight or obese individuals who do not develop diabetes at all or develop may be at later stage of life. They remain resistant to type 2 diabetes and safely partition excess calories to subcutaneous adipose tissue (SAT) rather than to the heart, skeletal muscle, liver, and islet β cells. There are various mechanisms involved here –

  • Islet β-cell compensation
  • Maintenance of blood nutrient concentrations
  • Development of insulin resistance
  • Limited increase in liver fat
  • These metabolic defects are responsible for the development of type –2 diabetes.

These days growing pressure in the corporate sectors, bank sectors, government sectors, people get less time to think over their health. They neglect their health and keep working for hours without even getting from their seats. Lots of stress and target oriented works are causing more pressures on their life which is affecting their health. They also eat lot of unhealthy food. Wrong food, lot of work load and lack of exercise is leading to such problems.

People are developing less age type – 2 diabetes. Still neglecting their diabetes may lead to diabetic neuropathy, diabetic retinopathy, diabetic nephropathy, skin conditions, foot damage, various orthopedic conditions like adhesive capsulitis (frozen shoulder). Frozen shoulder is a very common condition. Almost every diabetic person suffers from this. This is a painful condition. Mostly this happens due to lack of movement of arms above 90 degree. All these conditions are as a result of sedentary lifestyle.

In adolescence children have lots of pressures in their life. They undergo physical stress, mental stress due to studies and competitions, pressures of new relationships and the inability of the parents to understand their children. All these things have a great impact on individual and this causes faulty habits like being a couch potato, eating unhealthy items for stress release, late night studies causes imbalance in the sleep habits and causes excessive eating and drinking coffee and tea and increasing the caffeine level which ultimately leads to problems like diabetes, young strokes etc.

Due to night shifts, this again affects the natural sleep mechanism of the body. According to a study sleeping less leads to high production of stress hormone like cortisol. These tend to release more fatty acid in the bloodstream which cause difficulty for the body to produce enough insulin which regulates blood sugar. This causes diabetes. Therefore, though one might be working in night shift should make a habit of 8 hours healthy sleep during the day to avoid such health hazards.

  • Heavy Drinkers have higher risk of developing Diabetes

In today’s world drinking has become a menace. People tag drinking as a stress releaser. Heavy drinkers reduce the body’s sensitivity to insulin which can trigger type – 2 diabetes. Drinking also has high amount of calorie which causes overweight and makes the person prone to diabetes.

  • Smoking

Smoking is another lifestyle disorder. Smokers are 30-40% more prone to diabetes. Tobacco present causes increase in blood sugar levels and lead to insulin resistance. Those who smoke more than 20 cigarettes a day double the risk of developing diabetes.

  • Poor Diet

There are various poor food conditions which cause diabetes.

  • Sipping sugary drinks during works
  • Skipping breakfast
  • Indulging in high carbs diet
  • Midnight munching
  • Using lots of butter in meals
  • Shopping without any list, this causes extra unhealthy things to be put inside your trolley
  • Emotional eating

All these things cause weight gain and insulin resistance causing diabetes.
High intake of trans fatty acids , saturated fats , refined carbohydrates and other processed foods increase the risk of type – 2 diabetes. Whole grains, polyunsaturated fatty acids, fibre rich foods, omega 3 fatty acids and other minimally processed foods can lower the risks.

Skipping breakfast and snacking between Meals also increase the risk of type – 2 diabetes.

  • Growing Culture of Free Wifi Zone and Socials

In today’s world, there is a rising culture of free wifi zone which attracts people in the resto bars and socials. People go there to complete their office work and sit there for hours. This causes excessive order of drinks, sugary drinks, high carb diet like pasta and pizza, high oil diet etc. This increases obesity which increases the risk for type – 2 diabetes.

Management of Diabetes


Food- Healthy food should always be encouraged. Type of food and the combination of food and also timing of the food is important. Every meal should be well balanced. Every meal should have a good portion of starch, fruits, vegetables, protein, and fats. Too little food in diabetes can lead to hypoglycemia – low sugar level. More amount of food can cause hyperglycemia – high sugar level.

1. Exercise

Daily 30 min exercise is advised. One should go for cycling, brisk walking, jogging, breathing exercises. Try to make a common circle for exercise so that daily exercise should not become a stress for you. Go for fun activities like swimming, aerobics, sports, dancing etc.

Strength training – this maintain blood glucose level. Try to go for weight lifting twice a week. Start with low weights under the proper guidance of Dr. One can also go for thera bands or other resistance band exercises.

Hydrate – drink water before, during, and after exercise.

Exercises help to reduce weight and help your body to insulin which regulates blood glucose level.

Check your blood sugar level before and after exercise. Exercise may at times reduce blood sugar level especially when a person is on medications.
Always keep a small snack with you during exercise so that in case if ever sugar drops it can happen.

2. Alcohol

Get the doctor’s ok for drinking
Don’t drink alcohol on empty stomach
Choose your drinks properly – light beer and dry wines have fewer calories. While mixing the drinks use soda, water.

3. Menstruation and Menopause

Keep a check of sugar before and after menstruation. There may be fluctuations in sugar level.

4. Stress

Try to maintain the stress level. Go for relaxation methods.If unable to maintain take the help of a doctor.

5. Medications

Consult a doctor for diabetes. Follow proper medications as advised, insulin therapy can be needed. You can order medicines online from Medlife at discounted prices. To order, click here.

6. Ergonomics

Ergonomic should be followed in the office so as to avoid the orthopedic problems in diabetic patients. Follow the rule of 20-20-20.It means try to get up from the seat after 20 min for 20 seconds and look 20 feet far.
Regular sugar monitoring should be done. Go for proper check ups regularly.

With care and support of family members, diabetes can easily be managed. One needs to change their lifestyle towards positive and healthy attitude so as to fight against diabetes.

For Diabetes Medicines, order it from Medlife and get it home delivered at discounted prices.

Dr. Vidhi Jain
Dr. Vidhi works as the Head of Department at Vinayak physiotherapy, a state of art multi-specialty physiotherapy clinic located in Vinayak Hospital at Noida. A Masters in Physiotherapy in Orthopedics and a member of Indian Association of Physiotherapy, She was nominated as "Best Physiotherapist" in Noida. She regularly visits private and government companies to spread awareness about Physiotherapy.


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