You can’t go far these days without being constantly reminded of the benefits of regular exercise and leading an active lifestyle. But there are still so many who don’t make it a priority to take care of their body and to get it moving. But what if you knew how dangerous a lazy lifestyle is to your health? If thinking about how starting a fitness regimen will give you a healthier, better looking body isn’t quite enough motivation for you, it might help to consider about how sitting around all day will negatively affect your health instead. Take a look at these nine dangers of living a sedentary lifestyle:
1. Weak Muscles
When you don’t use your muscles, you lose them. And lack of muscle makes everyday activities harder to perform. Weak muscles mean you are more likely to easily injure yourself when lifting or pushing things. Lack of bone supporting skeletal muscle means sprains and tears are a real danger. And, because lean muscle mass helps to keep your metabolism running high, when you don’t have enough of it, it is much easier for you to gain weight and much harder for you to lose it.
2. Fragile Bones
Just like muscles, your bones need regular exercise to keep them nice and strong. When you don’t use your bones enough they begin to lose calcium and become weak. And weak bones are much more at risk of fractures and breakages from falls.
3. Higher Risk of Stroke and Heart Attack
Studies have proven that lack of activity greatly increases your chances of suffering from a heart attack or stroke. And by greatly, I mean regular physical activity can cut your chances of this by 50-70%. That’s a pretty eye-opening figure.
4. Increased Risk of Cancer
A lazy lifestyle could well come back to haunt you one day. Physical inactivity has been shown to increase the risk of certain cancers. Research found that people with the highest rates of sedentary behaviour were at a significantly higher risk of developing colon, endometrial and lung cancer.
5. Weaker Immune System
Sitting around too much without ever exercising weakens your immune system and affects your body’s ability to fight infection, leaving you more open to contracting colds, illnesses and even chronic diseases. One study found that inactive people took twice as many sick days over a period of four months than people who took a brisk walk every day.
People who don’t get enough exercise have been shown to experience more depression and more mood swings. Exercise releases happy hormone, making it a great stress reliever and helping you become a more positive and balanced person.
7. Age Related Brain Diseases
Even your brain suffers when you fail to get your body moving regularly enough. Studies have shown that people who regularly participate in some sort of physical activity have a whopping 50% less chance of developing dementia and Alzheimer’s as they age.
8. Weight Gain and Risk of Diabetes
An obvious side effect of a sluggish lifestyle is weight gain, but we often forget the risks that come with being overweight. With weight gain comes an increase in your chances of insulin sensitivity, and this could lead to type 2 diabetes – which comes with its own onslaught of unpleasant symptoms.
9. Increased Chance of an Embolism
Sitting around all day after day after day causes your blood flow to become sluggish too. This increases the risk of a blood clot forming, which could well travel to your lungs and heart, causing a pulmonary embolism. This risks is higher in women who take contraceptive pills because they can cause thickening of the blood.
Easy Ways to Get Moving
Most people think the only side effect of a lazy lifestyle is weight gain. But as you can see, the effects go much deeper than that. While we certainly don’t mean to scare you, it is important to understand the danger that not being active enough poses to your health.
Fortunately, it’s really not hard to get moving and start to minimize these effects straight away. If you have an office job, take the stairs instead of the elevator, take a short walk at lunchtime and make more of an effort to walk around to visit your colleagues. Take public transport? Get off a stop earlier and walk the rest of the way. Walk the dog more, walk to the local shops instead of driving, and stand up while on the telephone or watching TV. For more of an aerobic workout, try some jump rope or hula hooping – exercise can be fun!
Ditching your couch potato lifestyle is the best thing you can do for your health today.