Being Inactive Harms You More than You Think
Are you one of those people who want to regularly exercise but haven’t for one reason or another? Then you should realize a sedentary lifestyle is more dangerous than you think.
The majority of Americans want to workout, but most of them fail to do so. A recent survey conducted by French tech firm ReportLinker revealed that 45% of American adults don’t exercise regularly. Being part of that group won’t do you any good, as you will learn after reading about the five dangers of physical inactivity.
5 Dangers of Being Inactive
Many of us think that exercise only affects our physical health. But numerous studies suggest that regular exercise also has tremendous effects on one’s psychological state. Working out regularly can help ease depression by enabling the release of endorphins, the feel-good hormones of the body.
When you exercise frequently, you’re also able to take your mind off things that make you sad or anxious. There are many studies that back up this fact. One of the more significant studies was published recently in the American Journal of Psychiatry which tracked 22,000 Norwegian adults for an average of 11 years.
The researchers found out that people who didn’t exercise at the start of the study had up to 44% higher chances of becoming depressed compared to people who worked out at least 1-2 hours a week.
The Canadian Mental Health Association also cites that regular exercise can increase self-esteem and reduce anxiety.
Did you know that a sedentary lifestyle can also kill you? A series of studies recently released in the medical journal, The Lancet, showed that lack of physical activity causes 1 in 10 deaths worldwide. Experts, thus, have labeled physical inactivity as dangerous as obesity and smoking.
One study conducted by Harvard experts concluded that lack of physical activity increases deaths due to various conditions like coronary heart disease, breast and colon cancer, and type 2 diabetes.
It is said that physical inactivity caused the deaths of more than 5 million people in 2008. That’s almost the same number of deaths caused by smoking in the same period.
Another danger posed by a sedentary lifestyle is increased risk of disability. One study published in the British Medical Journal showed that people who lived an inactive lifestyle were up to 72% more likely to develop disability once they reach the age of 65.
The researchers looked at the link between unhealthy behaviors and risk of disability from 1999 to 2011. Close to 4,000 individuals were interviewed regarding their lifestyles. Unhealthy behaviors included low to moderate physical activity, smoking, and heavy alcohol consumption.
Researchers found that 31% of the individuals developed disability later on in their lives. And more alarmingly, participants who admitted to having low physical activity had a 72% increased risks of disability. Those who consumed fruits and vegetables less than once a day had an increased risk of 24%, while current and ex-smokers had a risk of 26%.
Not surprisingly, a sedentary lifestyle can also increase your risk of obesity. Studies have proven that the number one trigger for obesity is lack of physical activity.
One of those studies was conducted by a team of researchers from the Stanford University School of Medicine. The researchers examined national health survey results during a 22-year period (from 1988 to 2010) and found that Americans are exercising less.
The survey took into account the lifestyles of more than 17,000 participants from 1988 to 1994, and about 5,000 participants each year starting from 1995 to 2010. The participants recorded the duration, intensity, and frequency of exercise from the previous month.
The Stanford researchers defined the ideal exercise frequency as more than 150 minutes a week.
The study revealed that the percentage of women who admitted to not having any physical activity increased to 52% in 2010 from 19% in 1988. Meanwhile, the percentage of inactive men was pegged at 43% in 2010 from just 11% in 1988.
It also found that obesity increased to 35% in women from just 25% in 1988. The incidence of obesity among men also jumped to 35% from 20%.
As you’ve already learned in this article, inactivity is linked to a plethora of health issues. High blood pressure, for one, may occur because of clogged and hardened arteries due to lack of exercise. High blood pressure or hypertension also increases one’s risks for heart disease, stroke, and kidney failure.
Type 1 diabetes occurs when the body fails to produce insulin. Type 2 diabetes usually happens due to an inactive lifestyle. People who are hypertensive are also at risk for diabetes.
There is a growing body of research that proves sedentary lifestyle can increase risks of different ailments. One study conducted by British scientists in 2010 showed that people who sit for extended periods have higher risk of disease compared to those who exercise. Another study conducted by Australian researchers linked every hour spent watching TV to an 18% increased risk of dying from cardiovascular issues.
While these issues can seem daunting, think of this: when you become active, you will immediately start combating them. Take some time out for self-care and exercise for a better life!