Your body needs to move.
Most biological systems work on the principle of “use it or lose it.” If you don’t use your muscles, they will atrophy (waste away). And if you don’t move your joints, they will become stiff and painful.
But it’s not just your muscles and joints that need movement. Your body’s systems need some level of physical activity to function properly.
Here are five ways a sedentary lifestyle can affect your health.
You’ll Experience Digestive Issues
Lots of muscles are involved in digesting food, especially in the intestines. The movement of these muscles helps to push food through your guts so that it can be properly absorbed at a healthy pace.
When you’re not active, these abdominal muscles can become weak. This can lead to digestive problems like constipation, bloating, and cramping.
Additionally, an inactive lifestyle makes consuming excess calories and gaining weight easily, which can bring on even more health issues.
Your Bones Change Shape
Although it might seem like your bones are hard and unchanging, they are actually constantly being remodeled. Old bone cells are broken down and reabsorbed, and new ones are created in their place.
Your bones are constantly changing in response to the forces placed on them. When you spend most of your time sitting, the forces on your bones are reduced, which can lead to bone density and shape changes.
This can make your bones weaker and more susceptible to fractures, breaks, and osteoporosis. It can also lead to changes in your posture and alignment, which can cause pain in your back, neck, and other joints.
Sitting too much can also lead to changes in your posture and alignment, which can cause chronic pain and other problems.
Your Brain and Emotions Suffer
It’s not just your physical health that suffers when you’re inactive. Your mental health does, too.
Your brain needs movement just as much as the rest of your body. Physical activity helps to increase blood flow to your brain, delivering the oxygen and nutrients it needs to function properly.
If you’re not doing enough movement each day, you are more likely to experience:
- mood swings
- trouble concentrating
Your Heart and Lungs Gets Weaker
Physical activity gives your heart and lungs a workout. They need this exercise to stay strong and function properly.
When you’re inactive, your heart muscle can become weaker. This can lead to an increased risk of high blood pressure, heart disease, and stroke.
Additionally, your lungs can become less efficient at exchanging oxygen and carbon dioxide. This can make breathing harder and make you more susceptible to disease and respiratory infections.
You’ll Have Less Energy
While you might think that exercise, movement, and physical activity would exhaust your energy, a sedentary lifestyle can cause you to feel even more fatigue and tiredness.
When you’re inactive, your body isn’t able to properly circulate blood and oxygen. This means your muscles, tissues, and organs aren’t getting the nutrients they need to function properly.
Additionally, an inactive lifestyle can lead to poor sleep quality, which can further contribute to feelings of exhaustion.
You Become More Prone to Disease
An inactive lifestyle can increase your risk of developing chronic diseases like heart disease, osteoporosis, diabetes, and even some types of cancer.
It can also weaken your immune system, making you more susceptible to infections and less likely to recover quickly.
So, if you’re not moving your body daily, it’s time to start. That could mean going for a daily walk, playing with your kids or grandkids at the park, dancing to your favorite music, or anything else that gets you moving.
Make an extra effort to stand up and move around every hour or so, even if it’s just for a few minutes.