The Health Risks of Physical Inactivity
When people think about common risk factors for chronic diseases, they immediately think of smoking, drinking, and obesity. Rarely do people today consider the dangers that prevailing sedentary lifestyles present.
Maybe you don’t smoke, or drink or eat more than your nutritionist recommends. However, by spending too much of your time sitting, you are almost no better off. Physical inactivity is a silent killer devastating entire populations, especially among European nations where most occupations require relative physical inactivity.
To be clear, the term ‘physical inactivity’ refers to a state where the human body is not moving sufficiently. The hours you spend sitting at your desk or even driving during a long commute are a serious health hazard.
The health risks that can result from physical inactivity are wide-ranging, the most common of which include the following:
1. Physical inactivity has been linked to an increase in the risk of breast and colon cancer. In fact, the mortality rate has been shown to reduce amongst cancer patients who adhere to physically active lifestyles.
2. Physical inactivity and diabetes usually go hand in hand. Basic exercise has the ability to prevent insulin resistance; this, in turn, helps keep type 2 diabetes at bay. As such, people who live physically inactive lifestyles are increasing their risk of manifesting type 2 diabetes.
3. Inactive lifestyles can contribute to mental illness. Studies have shown that physically inactive individuals struggle with emotions of anxiety and depression. On the other hand, physical activity is a natural remedy for negative mood swings.
4. The most common health risk of physical inactivity today is obesity. People who live sedentary lifestyles are more likely to struggle with obesity in the long run. Furthermore, obesity tends to attract its own collection of very dangerous health hazards.
5. The human body requires exercise to function optimally. Bones in particular maintain their strength and mineral content through physical activity. As such, physically inactive individuals are more likely to struggle with bone loss, especially as they age.
6. The absence of physical activity exacerbates the loss of lean muscle tissue which makes it more difficult to maintain body weight. This, among other complications, can contribute to chronic fatigue and make the execution of daily routine difficult.
Along with strokes and heart attacks, physical inactivity is a globally topical health issue. Exercise is a natural remedy for all manner of illnesses, capable of improving the immune system even while maintaining cognitive function. Unfortunately, not only are people failing to take advantage of the benefits of exercise but the rising levels of physical inactivity are exposing myriads of individuals around the world to dangerous health risks.