11 Health Risks that Come with Physically Inactive Lifestyle

All about Health Risks of Physically Inactive Lifestyle or Sedentary Lifestyle

By Chris Brown

Physical inactivity or sedentary lifestyle approaches leave serious implications on people’s health. Around 2 million deaths every year are a result of physical inactivity, it’s an alarming indication that an inactive lifestyle lies among the top ten leading death causes & disabilities around the world.

Lazy living conditions increase the mortality rates, promote the risk of different cardiovascular diseases, obesity, and diabetes, also the increasing number of colon cancer, osteoporosis, lipid disorders, problems related to blood pressure, depression & anxiety.

As per WHO, up to 60-85% of people around the world are leading sedentary lifestyles. It’s a serious yet not adequately addressed public health issue. A healthy lifestyle approach, incorporating adequate regular exercise & a nutritious diet.

Inactive lifestyle

Being the couch potato, inadequate exercise, inactive/sedentary lifestyle. You might have heard these phrases, all of them being used in the same context. Living a lifestyle that involves loads of sitting & lying down, with a very less amount of exercise.

Not the world but the US alone majority of the people spend most of the time of their day in doing sedentary activities. During leisure time, they often sit: while performing tasks on the computer screen, watching TV, playing video games. Most of the jobs these days are desk jobs.

Also, inactivity isn’t a certain life phase but a habit that can become your permanent way of living and that continues to increase with age. Generally, women are more inclined to live an unhealthy lifestyle than men.

Causes of Physical Inactivity and Sedentary Lifestyles

Lack of or poor participation in physical activities can be a result of various factors that include environmental, social, cultural, and personal elements. Screentime is strongly correlated with the increase of sedentary lifestyles. These inactive behaviors are continuing to rise alarmingly. It majorly affects your physical and mental health.

Most of the healthy or physical fitness regimens focus on doing more and more exercise but not reducing the secretary lifestyles. This behavior poses serious health risks & contributes to the prevalence of many diseases, most of which are physical.

How does an inactive lifestyle change your body?

Living a sedentary lifestyle has now become a public health issue. Inactive lifestyles appear to be increasing among people. People who live an inactive lifestyle do not meet the national physical activity guidelines.

It states that a normal adult should at least perform 150 minutes of moderate physical activity per week. People who fail to meet the minimum physical activity guideline have a higher risk of developing health issues. When you live an inactive lifestyle your body might get affected in the following ways:

  • You get to burn a lesser number of calories. That makes you gain an unwanted amount of fat. Which can affect your overall health in absurd ways. 
  • You might start losing muscular strength & endurance because you are adequately active.
  • Your bones will start to get weaker, lose their mineral content and also their density which will affect your overall balance and mobility.
  • The metabolism will get affected, the body will have trouble breaking down fats & sugars.
  • Your immune system will start using its efficiency. The blood circulation will get affected.
  • The inflammation rate in your body will rise, which might disturb your hormonal balance.

Health Risks of Sedentary living & Physical inactivity

Following are the risks of living an inactive lifestyle.

  • Muscle weakness: Your body muscles will start getting weaker over time because of inadequate use. This will make it difficult for you to enjoy other physical activities, promoting a further sedentary lifestyle.
  • Lower Metabolism: Sedentary lifestyle is translated into lesser calorie consumption. Inactivity induces metabolic dysfunction characterized by higher blood triglyceride levels, lower HDL-cholesterol levels, & reduced insulin sensitivity. It compromises your body’s function of breaking down fat which ultimately causes you to gain more weight. Many of the body’s functions simply shut down.
  • Heart disease: Like the rest of the muscles in your body, your heart is a muscle too. As exercise makes your muscle stronger your heart needs exercise too for functioning properly. A sedentary lifestyle increases the risk of cardiovascular disease, blood pressure issues, stroke, & heart attack leading to poor circulation. A sedentary lifestyle affects the flow of blood via multiple mechanisms & subsequently changes your blood pressure by shifting the cardiac output & peripheral vascular resistance.
  • Obesity: Unhealthy amount of Weight comes with nasty problems, an inactive lifestyle has its obvious health risks such as obesity, high blood pressure, diabetes, & heart disease. More amount weight you gain, the less it works. The Less the muscles of your heart get worked the weaker they become. A sedentary lifestyle increases the risk of gaining an unwanted amount of weight. Obesity itself is a leading cause of many other health issues.
  • Osteoporosis: Inactive lifestyle increases osteoporosis risk, it’s a condition during which the bones tend to become weak & brittle. The older you become, the more difficult it gets for you to maintain your bone density.
  • Diabetes: Physically Inactive People are at a higher risk for developing type 2 diabetes compared to those who exercise regularly.
  • Mental health problems: When you workout let it be winter in summer, getting moving makes your body release a chemical that is a natural mood stabilizer. It wipes away the symptoms of depression and anxiety. Inactive living increases the chances of mental health issues.
  • Sleep Issues: Among all of the health benefits of physical activity one is getting a good quality of sleep every night. An adequate amount of regular physical activity helps with falling asleep & staying peacefully asleep throughout the night.
  • General health issues: Being physically inactivity boosts the risk for many health problems as you age, it includes injuries such as falls, weaker bones & muscles. Inactive living lowers the quality of life with old age.
  • Loss of Flexibility. The blood in your body doesn’t flow freely through tight, stiff, and bound muscles. Pain & Inflammation pull up their ugly heads with the lack of flexibility. The more sitting you do, the more the hip flexors & lower back become tight. Also, the abs & glutes also become weaker.
  • Increased risk of Dementia, Depression, & Anxiety: Your mind is more linked and dependent on the lack of moving, especially as you age. According to a famous saying, you are as old as you feel. You don’t necessarily have to feel the negative harmful effects that are associated with age as a result, a sedentary lifestyle doing regular physical exercise not only delays the process of aging but also lowers the risk of health risks associated with it.

How to combat a sedentary lifestyle

Following are some of the tips that will help you in meeting the physical activity goals

  • Try to multitask if you have a busy schedule or always running low on time. Doing your yard work & household chores such as mopping, sweeping & dusting count as physical activity.
  • Try to find creative ways and means of being more active: indulge yourself in playing active games with friends and family, every time you have an option of taking the stairs rather than the elevator, go for it, try parking at a distance you will have to walk more. Choose walking or traveling on the bike for transportation.
  • Take out time for performing physical activity. Try & squeeze physical exercise at any chance you get into your daily life routine. Go out for walks or work out during the lunch break. Try walking instead of sitting and make it a habit.
  • You might have to add extra active time each day till being adequately active becomes a part of your normal and healthy life.
  • Try standing rather than idling sitting in the public transport, if your office or workstation is a couple of blocks away try walking. Go for walks during your lunch break.
  • Set reminders for standing up every 30-min while working at the desk. Invest into the standing desks.
  • Walk up during your coffee or tea breaks rather than sitting.
  • Spend more time doing chores that keep you physically active around the house.
  • Take phone calls outside & walk around while you talk.
  • Try to spend more free time being physically active than just watching television or sitting and playing video games
  • Get up & walking during the television commercials

How do you get started with the exercise?

It’s indisputable that a sedentary lifestyle negatively impacts your health and intensifies your inactive hours that poses a lot of health risks. For the same reason, you must work on reducing the sedentary time as much as you can. With a slight amount of physical activity and by doing simple muscle training, eradicating sedentary behaviors, intermittent interruptions, and sufficient physical activity.

Therefore, among different types of inactive behaviors, individuals must refrain from viewing tv, computer hours & snacking should be reduced while you are watching the television. If you usually stay inactive, getting started at a slower pace and gradually speeding up might work well for you.

You can keep on increasing your pace and intensity slowly. The more you are able to do, with each day the better it will be. You don’t need to feel overwhelmed, by what you can. Doing little exercise is way better than doing nothing at all. Your goal should be doing recommended exercise. You can also try the smart ways of working out at home.


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Post updated in October 2021