Since the beginning of human history, people usually walked everywhere they went, and physical activity was part of their lifestyle. They didn’t have to make room for it in their schedules. In fact, mere survival necessitated movement.
With our modern conveniences, however, our immediate survival is no longer contingent on our physical activity. Our buildings, shopping centers, works areas and homes are all designed so that we don’t have to move around much. That’s not how we’re hard-wired to live, though, and this “cushy” lifestyle has translated into weight gain and lowered health levels. In fact, the sedentary modern lifestyle can contribute to as many as 1,000 calories per day not burned and a 50% reduction in physical activity. While our immediate survival may not rely on physical activity, our long-term health may definitely be tied to our activity level.
An article in The Journal of Physiology reminds us that we are made for a physically active lifestyle, but we’ve been on a downward spiral to inactivity—and it’s nothing new. In 1953, almost 60% of American children failed to meet even a minimum fitness standard for health. Can you imagine what the percentage was for adults if it was 60% for children? Or better yet…can you guess what the percentage would be now—especially considering that children have generally become even more sedentary?
The article continues and gives the scientific basis underlying how physical inactivity affects at least 20 of the most deadly chronic disorders. The hope is that raising awareness could serve as a starting point for developing additional strategies n the ongoing war against inactivity-induced chronic health conditions that plague our inactive modern society.
In other words, inactivity can bring on serious health problems—and we need to change our ways.
Among the disorders associated with an increase of incidence in inactivity are:
• Cardiovascular diseases—including heart disease, congestive heart failure, coronary artery disease, angina, and myocardial infarction; hypertension, stroke, intermittent claudication, and platelet adhesion and aggregation
• Metabolic diseases--including Type 2 diabetes, obesity, dyslipidemia, and gall bladder disorders
• Cancers—including breast cancer, colon cancer, prostate cancer, pancreatic cancer, and melanoma
• Pulmonary diseases—including asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)
• Musculoskeletal disorders—including osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, osteoporosis and physical frailty
• Immune dysfunction disorders and neurological disorders—including cognitive dysfunction
Those are serious side effects of inactivity.
It’s time to get back to old school exercise—even if it’s just walking several times a week. It can mean the difference between health and unhealth.