180 Nutrition: We all know that those who have regular exercise in their lives are generally in better condition, fitter, and healthier than those who don’t.
That’s not to say that exercise is the only pillar to a healthy lifestyle because it’s not, it’s only one of the many elements required to achieve optimum health.
There’s ample research available describing the positive effects on your body of regular exercise, but little light is shed on what happens to your body when you don’t frequently exert yourself physically.
Perhaps you’ve had to stop your exercise regime due to injury, pregnancy, or illness; or maybe you’ve never even picked up your gym shoes before. Whatever your reasons for not getting a regular sweat on, here are nine risks to your health that an inactive lifestyle could lead to.
1) You’ll feel stressed
Depending on your exercise of choice, regular movement helps your muscles to relax and relieves tension. If you’ve had a hard day at the office or life is getting you down, without regular movement those physical tensions linger on. Prolonged stress wreaks havoc on both the body and mind so it’s important to combat this however you can.
2) Your sleep will be disturbed
Exercise reduces stress and tires out your body which both have an impact on how well you sleep. The harder you work your body, the more you physically need to rest to recover. Without exercise, you might find you struggle to get to sleep, have restless slumber, and rely on counting sheep to nod off in the wee small hours.
3) You will gain weight
Exercise burns fat and increases your metabolism which means that calories continue to burn long after you’ve left the gym. With a distinct lack of exercise in your routine, the calories that you consume only respond to your body’s natural metabolism and daily movement, so the amount you can eat before the weight starts creeping on is often very little.
4) You’re more likely to have unhealthy food cravings
When you work hard at the gym, exercise triggers cravings for healthy foods such as fruit and vegetables. On the contrary to this, when you don’t regularly move, sugary and processed foods can become part of your daily diet leading to increased weight gain and high levels of inflammation in your body.
5) Your fitness level decreases
You don’t need to maintain a reasonable fitness level just to run marathons. You also need a good degree of fitness to play with your kids, carry groceries, and live as pain-free an existence as possible. When you’re puffing and wheezing due to low activity levels, it makes life harder in general and impacts your overall health and wellbeing.
6) Muscles become weak
When you exercise, with each session your muscles strengthen which means your body can take more pressure. A simple trip or fall will generally have little to no impact on someone who moves regularly, but when you don’t move your muscles, that small stumble can do a lot more damage. Strong muscles act as a layer of protection that an inactive body rarely has.
7) Your mood declines
Exercise releases endorphins which can counteract negative thoughts and feelings of low mood. Without regular movement, the most natural anti-depressant in the world won’t kick in and you will find yourself more grumpy and irritable than normal.
8) Your bones weaken
Lifting weight helps bone tissue to form. Lack of weight-based exercise has the opposite effect which will increase your risk of fractures, breaks, and severe illness such as osteoporosis.
9) You have an increased risk of chronic illness
Exercise, especially cardio-based exercise, reduces the harmful inflammation in the body which leads to chronic disease and fatigue. When the activity stops, inflammation increases which can cause unnecessary illness, sickness and pain; not just today, but also in the future.
I will repeat it again for those who weren’t paying attention at the start; your body needs to move. The good news is that if you’ve previously had a regular exercise routine that you’ve fallen out of; ‘muscle memory’ means you’ll be back to your previous condition in no time at all.
An active lifestyle contributes to your overall good health in a multitude of ways and it’s important that if regular movement isn’t in your wellbeing plan, then you make a start today.