What Happens When You Stop Being Active? Chronic Disease.
Sitting is the new smoking.
We hear that a lot these days. Most people don’t believe, but evidence is mounting.
As technology bleeds into more of our everyday lives, long days at desk-jobs become the norm, and we spend more time binge-watching our favorite shows. That leads to less activity during the day and less doing what we need to do to keep our bodies and minds healthy. A sedentary lifestyle is defined by the Sedentary Behavior Research Network as “any activity involving sitting, reclining, or lying down that has a very low energy expenditure.” Despite well-publicized health risks associated with being sedentary, this harmful results of this are a real issue all over the world.
The Dangers of Not Being Active
There is a growing evidence suggesting a link between chronic disease and sedentary lifestyles. According to an American Cancer Society survey published in 2018, there was a high correlation between spending six hours or more sitting per day and a higher all-cause mortality rate. The risk of dying from 14 different diseases was significantly higher.
Another study found that people who were the most physically inactive had a 22 to 49 percent greater chance of dying early than those were physically active.
The types of chronic diseases linked to sedentary lifestyles are:
Being inactive can also affect our brains and mental health.
- Alzheimer’s and dementia
- Cognitive decline
How a Sedentary Lifestyle Leads to Chronic Disease?
Our bodies are not designed for physical inactivity. We are meant to move… and often. So, when we don’t do what we are genetically pre-dispositioned for our bodies don’t perform at peak.
Studies show being sedentary for prolonged periods of time can negatively impact the way we function.
- Our metabolism slows
- We are less able to control blood sugar levels
- Blood pressure becomes unstable
- We can’t break down fat efficiently
How to Prevent Chronic Disease with Strength Training?
Fortunately, we can reverse or even prevent chronic disease. First: Do intense exercise. Start exercising regularly, begin a strength training program, and incorporate movement throughout the day. If you work at a desk all day, take active breaks. Try a sit-stand desk. If you’ve never exercised before, start by walking and work your way up to more.
Exercise is medicine, even if you’re recovering from a major health event, like a stroke or cancer. In the bestselling book, Choosing the StrongPath, co-authors Fred Bartlit and Steven Droullard write that the American Heart Association said, “Doctors should prescribe exercise to stroke patients, since there is strong evidence that physical activity and exercise after stroke can improve cardiovascular fitness, walking ability, and upper arm strength.”
Harvard Health recently published a report that said exercise is also good for your brain. It read, “…brain activity increases and memory improves immediately after even a short, single bout of exercise.”
Bartlit said his mood, energy, and exercise are also impacted by exercise. That’s because Mitochondria is the energy in your cells. As we age, it gets harder to produce. High intensity training boosts mitochondria capacity. Exercise boosts energy and energy boosts mood.
The Bottom Line
The benefits of regular physical activity, intense exercise and strength training are invaluable and indisputable. The best news is that it’s never too late to start.