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. Moreover, many people continue to work or school from home and studies have found that these people are sitting more with less activity during the day. 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 key to moving waste through your digestive tract.
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 get tight and cause pain.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Exercise stimulates the release of oxygen carrying blood and chemicals in your brain to improve function. The more blood that gets to your brain, the better you can think, remember, and make decisions.
Sedentary people have a higher incidence of high blood pressure and heart disease. Spending most of your time sitting raises your risk of heart disease. High cholesterol, high blood pressure, obesity, all related to inactivity, are major risk factors for heart issues like coronary artery disease and heart attack.
Inactivity and high blood glucose levels are closely associated. Regular exercise is essential to keep your blood glucose under control. Stable blood sugar levels helps you avoid type 2 diabetes danger zone.
A strong core is can prevent lower back pain. A weak core, associated with inactivity core muscles and lack of use, makes you more vulnerable to lower back pain from tweaking 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.
While some people report an increase in appetite with exercise, research shows that 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.
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.
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.
Read “Health & Exercise Forum” – Every Monday Next Week Part II of II: Tips to Select a Good Cervical Pillow For You. 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: firstname.lastname@example.org.
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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 in downtown Scranton, PA and is an associate professor of clinical medicine at GCSOM.