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Human beings were designed to move…walk, run, climb, lift, hunt, and gather. Contemporary man has suffered greatly from a technologically driven inactive and sedentary lifestyle. Inactivity is associated with many health problems; obesity, adult-onset diabetes, high blood pressure to name a few. The problems associated with lack of movement are many:


The more you move your body, the more you colon moves!  A regular and consistent exercise and activity regime, results in a more consistent bowel schedule, especially with age. Healthy muscle tone in your abdominal muscles and diaphragm is also the key to moving waste through your digestive tract.

Stiff Joints

Osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis and many inflammatory or auto-immune diseases can cause achy and stiff joints. However, even healthy joints can also stiffen when you don’t use them enough. Put them to work so they don't get tight and cause pain.

Shortness of Breath

All muscles get weak from lack of use, including the muscles that help your lungs expand and contract as you breathe if you don’t work them out regularly. The less exercise or activity you do, the more you experience shortness of breath, even during easy daily tasks.

Depression or Moody

Physical problems are not the only complication of inactivity. A lack of movement can also increase feelings of anxiety and depression. Aerobic exercises like walking, biking, swimming, or running, have been proven to stimulate endorphins to boost and steady your mood, and even improve your self-esteem.

Lack of Energy

Many studies have found that regular movement improves energy. Exercise helps deliver oxygen and nutrients to your tissues. When you sit or are inactive, tissues are not getting the same amount of fuel they need to keep you going.

Slow Metabolism

Movement stimulates your metabolism. Hyperactive people burn more calories…just by fidgeting! Even if you are not hyperactive, the more active you are, the more calories you burn each time you move.

Difficulty Sleeping

One of the first recommendations sleep doctors make to their patients suffering from insomnia is exercise. When you keep a regular exercise routine, you fall asleep faster, and you sleep deeper once you drift off.

Brain Fog

Regular exercise tells your body to make more chemicals called growth factors. They boost blood vessel production in your brain. The more blood that gets to your brain, the better you can think, remember, and make decisions.

High Blood Pressure

Spending most of your time sitting raises your risk of heart disease, in great part due to the fact that partly you’re more likely to have high blood pressure. This is a big risk factor for heart issues like coronary artery disease and heart attack.

High Blood Glucose

When physical activity is a regular part of your life, your body has an easier time keeping your blood glucose under control. Exercise can stabilize blood sugar levels and keep you out of the type 2 diabetes danger zone.

Lower Back Pain

When your core muscles are weak from lack of use, they can’t support your back the way they should. This makes it much easier to tweak your back muscles during everyday movements like standing or reaching. Pilates, yoga, and other exercises that use stretching are good for building a stronger back. Schedule an appointment with a good orthopedic and sports PT.

Hunger Pains … “Hangry”

Logically, one might think that you’d be hungry more often if you exercised more, but the opposite is usually true. Aerobic exercise like biking, swimming, walking, and running can actually decrease your appetite because it changes the levels of certain “hunger hormones” in your body.

Sick Often

Studies show the more moderate activity you get, the lower your chance of catching a cold or other germs. When you make exercise a habit, your immune system gets stronger.

Dull and Pasty Skin

If your skin looks duller than usual, a lack of movement may be to blame. Some studies show that moderate exercise boosts your circulation and your immune system, which helps your skin keep that youthful glow.


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This article is not intended as a substitute for medical treatment. If you have questions related to your medical condition, please contact your family physician. For further inquires related to this topic email:

Paul J. Mackarey PT, DHSc, OCS is a Doctor in Health Sciences specializing in orthopaedic and sports physical therapy in Scranton and Clarks Summit. Dr. Mackarey is in private practice and is an associate professor of clinical medicine at Geisinger Commonwealth School of Medicine. For all of Dr. Mackarey's articles, visit our exercise forum!

Exercise is Important in Prevention

In 2000, President Bill Clinton dedicated March as National Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month. The purpose of this designation is to increase public awareness of the facts about colon cancer – a cancer that is preventable, treatable and has a high survival rate. Regular screening tests, expert medical care and a healthy lifestyle, which includes a proper diet and exercise, are essential for prevention. Several studies have demonstrated that exercise can also help prevent colon cancer. 

The American Cancer Society

The American Cancer Society estimates that there will be approximately 150,000 new cases of colorectal cancer in 2021. Of these, 52,980 men and women will succumb to the disease. It is the second-leading cause of U.S. cancer deaths for both men and women combined. The good news is incidence and mortality rates are dropping both nationally as well as in northeast Pennsylvania. The bad news is northeast Pennsylvania still has increased incidence and mortality rates when compared to the national average.

The Research

Studies show that prevention of this disease is multifaceted and includes: engaging in daily exercise, eating a low-fat diet with little red meat, avoiding smoking, drinking in moderation and having regular colonoscopy screenings.

Catch It Early

Early detection is the key to survival. Death from colorectal cancer can be eliminated if caught at the earliest signs of disease. Colorectal cancer progresses very slowly, usually over years. It often begins as non-cancerous polyps in the lining of the colon. In some cases, these polyps can grow and become cancerous, often without any symptoms. Some symptoms that may develop are: blood in stool, changes in bowel movement, feeling bloated, unexplained weight loss, feeling tired easily, abdominal pain or cramps, and vomiting. Contact your physician if you have any of these symptoms.

The risk of colon cancer increases with age, as 90 percent of those diagnosed are older than age 50. A family history of colon cancer increases risk. Also, those with benign polyps, inflammatory bowel disease, ulcerative colitis or Crohn’s disease are at greater risk and should be screened more frequently.

Prevention of Colon Cancer:

How Exercise Prevents Colon Cancer:

The intestine works like a sewage plant, recycling the food and liquid needed by your body. However, it also stores waste prior to disposal. The longer the wastes remain idle in your colon or rectum, the more time toxins have to be absorbed from you waste into the surrounding tissues. One method in which exercise may help prevent colon cancer is to get your body moving, including your intestines. Exercise stimulates muscular contraction called peristalsis to promote movement of waste through your colon.

Exercise to prevent colon cancer does not have to be extreme. A simple increase in daily activity for 15 minutes, two times per day or 30 minutes, once per day is adequate to improve the movement of waste through your colon. This can be simply accomplished by walking, swimming, biking or playing golf, tennis or basketball. For those interested in a more traditional exercise regimen, perform aerobic exercise for 30-45 minutes four to five days per week, with additional sports and activities for the remainder of the time. For those in poor physical condition, begin slowly. Start walking for five to 10 minutes, two to three times per day. Then, add one to two minutes each week until you attain a 30-45 minute goal. 

Medical Contributor: Christopher A. Peters, M.D

Dr. Christopher Peters is a partner of Radiation Medicine Associates of Scranton (RAMAS) and serves as medical director of Northeast Radiation Oncology Centers (NROC). He is an associate professor of clinical medicine at GCSOM.

Sources: American Cancer Society/Northeast Regional Cancer Institute, and CA Cancer J Clin.

This article is not intended as a substitute for medical treatment.

If you have questions related to your medical condition, please contact your family physician.

For further inquires related to this topic email:

For all of Dr. Mackarey's articles visit:

Paul J. Mackarey PT, DHSc, OCS is a Doctor in Health Sciences specializing in orthopaedic and sports physical therapy. Dr. Mackarey is in private practice and is an associate professor of clinical medicine at GCSOM.