We get it. Juggling work, relationships, and personal time are hard. There are times where you’d rather skip your workout. However, living a sedentary lifestyle is a health risk.
We all know about the benefits of regular physical activity. Exercise can improve sleep, bone health, cognitive abilities, increase the ability to perform everyday activities, and reduce the risk of dementia. But how can inactivity hurt your health?
Living a sedentary lifestyle - the effects
Statistics show that only 19% of the U.S. population has engaged in sports and exercise daily since 2019. Not engaging in physical inactivity can double the risk of cardiovascular disease, type-2 diabetes, and obesity.
Heart and circulatory diseases
One of the most significant risks of inactivity is developing heart and circulatory diseases. Being inactive can cause fatty material to build up in your arteries. Arteries are the blood vessels that carry blood to your organs. So if the arteries that carry blood to your heart get damaged and clogged, it can lead to a heart attack. And if this happens in the arteries that carry blood to your brain, the risk of having a stroke increases.
Being active can reduce your risk of developing some heart and circulatory diseases by as much as 35%.
Research shows that rising rates of type 2 diabetes are linked to a lack of exercise.
Insulin controls the levels of sugar in the blood. Lack of exercise can cause muscle cells to lose their sensitivity to insulin. Healthy eating and increased physical activity enable muscle cells to use the insulin and glucose in your body more efficiently, thus promoting weight loss and lowering the risk of diabetes.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about 74% of adults in the United States are overweight. This includes nearly 43% who are obese. Another similar research suggests that inactivity - rather than higher calorie intake - could cause a surge in obesity. And it makes sense. When you have an inactive lifestyle, you burn fewer calories. This makes you more likely to gain weight.
Lack of exercise and mental health
Living a sedentary lifestyle can also increase the risk of depression and anxiety. Research shows that people who exercise regularly have better mental health and emotional well-being and lower rates of mental illness. Exercise has also been found to alleviate symptoms such as low self-esteem and social withdrawal.
Studies found that aerobic exercise is one of the best exercises for mental health. The stairmaster and elliptical machines are great aerobic examples of this type of exercise.
How to know if you get enough exercise
Adults are advised to do at least 150 minutes (2 hours and 30 minutes) to 300 minutes (5 hours) moderate-intensity weekly, or 75 minutes (1 hour and 15 minutes) to 150 minutes (2 hours and 30 minutes) of vigorous-intensity physical activity weekly.
To reduce your risk of heart and circulatory diseases, you need to be active every day. This doesn’t need to be a specific exercise, but rather any movement: walking, cleaning around the house, dancing along to the music.
How to get started with exercise
If you have been inactive, start slowly. You can keep adding more exercise gradually.
When starting with exercise, you need to find some activity that you can include in your day-to-day life. Housework, gardening, and yard work are all physical work. At work, you can get up from your chair and move around at least once an hour, take the stairs instead of the elevator or use your break to go for a walk. You can also try moving a bit while watching TV or going for a walk around the neighborhood.
People also ask
Why does inactivity make you tired?
The body needs oxygen to transform nutrients into energy. Lower oxygenation means lower energy, a higher heart rate, and fatigue. Sedentary people tend to have higher heart rates and lower oxygen consumption than active individuals.
Therefore, being more active can help boost energy levels.
Can you be healthy without exercise?
Media will promote different miracle formulas for weight loss, promising a healthy life without exercising. The truth is that exercise, along with a wholesome diet and a positive mindset, are the only ones that can help you maintain a balanced lifestyle.
Without exercise, your metabolism will slow down. And if your metabolism is slower, it will be harder for you to digest food and lose weight. Depending on how much you exercise, it can help you lose weight more quickly.
However, you can live a healthy life without exercise on the condition that you do not sit around all day and move your body and choose to walk certain distances, for example.
Aim to do at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity activity per week. But remember that any type of activity is better than none. If you’re not a fan of intense exercise, try, at least, to break up long periods of inactivity like sitting or lying down and choose to get up and walk around.