Why an Inactive Lifestyle Isn’t Good For You

Man asleep on couch

Could Your Sedentary Lifestyle Be Harming Your Health?

If walking around the grocery store is the most exercise you get in a week, you may be putting your health at risk. Inactivity is a factor in many health conditions, ranging from cancer to high blood pressure to osteoporosis. Fortunately, it's never too late to improve your health by becoming more active.

Are You a Couch Potato? You May Be More Likely To Experience These Health Issues

Only 25% of Americans are active enough to satisfy current exercise recommendations, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Adults should participate in 150 minutes of moderate-intensity activity or 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity activity per week, according to the recommendations.

Lack of exercise can increase your risk of:

  • Cardiovascular Problems. You're more likely to develop heart disease, heart attack, stroke, high blood pressure, or high cholesterol if you don't move enough. In fact, a sedentary lifestyle doubles your risk of cardiovascular disease and death, according to the World Health Organization. Regular aerobic exercise strengthens your heart and improves blood flow to the brain, heart, lungs, and other organs. Aerobic exercise is any activity that raises your heart rate, such as swimming, walking, riding a bike, or playing tennis.
  • Obesity. Exercise helps you burn calories and improves your metabolism, the rate at which you burn those calories. If you've been struggling to lose weight, exercising more, in addition to following a healthy diet, could help you shed a few extra pounds.
  • Type 2 Diabetes. Inactivity may also increase your likelihood of developing type 2 diabetes, a disease that affects more than 34 million Americans, according to the CDC. If you're sedentary, you may develop insulin resistance, a condition that affects your body's ability to use glucose (blood sugar) to provide energy to your cells. Glucose builds up in your blood if you're insulin resistant, making it more likely that you'll develop pre-diabetes or diabetes. Researchers in Korea discovered being inactive for 10 hours or more daily increased insulin resistance values in people who didn't have diabetes.
  • Weak Bones. Weight-bearing activities, like walking, strength training, dancing, or running, keep your bones strong. These activities increase bone density and improve the range of motion in your joints. Weight-bearing exercise is particularly important as you get older. Exercise can help you lower your risk of developing osteoporosis, a disease that weakens the bones and increases your risk of fractures.
  • Cancer. Skipping exercise can also raise your cancer risk. Inactivity raises the risk of uterine, colon, and breast cancers, according to Medline Plus.
  • Mental Health Issues. Staying active may also help you avoid depression and anxiety or reduce the symptoms of these conditions. Exercise improves nerve cell growth in the part of the brain that controls moods and triggers the release of endorphins, natural chemicals that improve your mood, according to Harvard Health Publishing.
  • Joint and Muscle Pain. Without regular exercise, your joints and muscles may become stiff and painful. Does your job involve plenty of sitting? When you sit too much, the core muscles that support your back begin to weaken. When the muscles are weak, you're more likely to experience strained muscles, muscle spasms, and knots in your muscles. Muscle imbalances due to lack of exercise can pull your spine out of alignment, causing chronic back pain and reduced range of motion.

How Your Chiropractor Can Help You Stay Healthy

Your chiropractor can recommend exercises that will strengthen and support your body and help you stay healthy. If pain is keeping you from exercising, your chiropractor offers a variety of treatments designed to improve spinal alignment and decrease pressure and tension on your muscles, ligaments, tendons, and nerves. Thanks to your visits to the chiropractor, you'll be able to make exercising a priority.

Has it been a while since you've seen the chiropractor? Give us a call and we'll help you schedule your next appointment.

Sources:

America's Health Rankings: Physical Inactivity

Harvard Health Publishing: Exercise Is An All-Natural Way to Fight Depression, 2/2/21

World Health Organization: Physical Inactivity a Leading Cause of Disease and Disability, Warns Who, 4/4/02

Medline Plus: Health Risks of an Inactive Lifestyle

Korean Journal of Family Medicine: Sedentary Lifestyle: Overview of Updated Evidence of Potential Health Risks, 11/19/20

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Lack of Physical Activity, 9/25/19

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