Globally, around 31% of adults aged 15 and above were classified as not being as physically active as recommended by the WHO, including 28% men and 34% women as a 2008 research showed.
And Approximately 3.2 million deaths occur each year as a direct or indirect result of insufficient physical activity. (WHO, 2008). (https://www.who.int/dietphysicalactivity/factsheet_inactivity/en/).
This explains to everyone why physical activity is very important to sustaining life and why physical inactivity must be discouraged amongst all population.
WHAT IS PHYSICAL INACTIVITY?
Physiopedia, a leading physical therapy website defines physical inactivity as achieving less than 30 minutes of moderate intensity physical activity per week. (https://www.physio-pedia.com/Physical_Inactivity).
Such moderate intensity exercises include swimming, jogging, skipping, dancing, etc.
In lay man terms, physical activity implies any bodily movement from one position or place to another that involves the action of the musculoskeletal system (muscles and skeleton) and the cardiovascular system (blood circulation) that leads to an increase in the activity of the systems of the body.
7 HARMFUL EFFECTS OF PHYSICAL INACTIVITY TO THE HEALTH
1. Heart diseases
Prolonged physical activity is a leading cause of heart diseases which include heart attack (myocardial infarction) among other serious heart diseases.
When an individual is not sufficiently physically active, he or she invariably increases his or her body fat levels as well as cholesterol levels. The long term effect of this is the accumulation of excess cholesterol on the walls of the heart muscles and heart blood vessels, making it difficult for the heart to pump blood effectively. The heart eventually fails as a result of the overload.
2. High blood pressure
Reduced physical activity or exercise would elevate an individual’s body calorie level as well as body fat. These attach themselves on the walls of the blood vessels making it increasingly difficult for blood to flow effectively. The heart then increases it’s pumping intensity and strength, causing the blood to exert increased pressure on the walls of the blood vessels.
This leads to elevated blood pressure. And if this continues for a considerable period of time without change in lifestyle, the risk of developing hypertension is increased.
Cerebrovascular disease also called stroke is a sudden cut or shortage in oxygen supply to the brain leading to damage of the parts of the brain affected.
This could be due to the rupture of an artery in the brain or a blockage of an artery in the brain.
When an individual is not sufficiently physically active, he or she increases his or her body fat levels as well as cholesterol and other lipid levels.
These excess fats eventually form plaques (mini solid structures) withing the blood vessels (arteries). These plaques narrow the blood vessels of the individual. When this individual who lives a sedentary lifestyle moves a limb which has been at rest for a period of time, the plaques may become dislodged and move to the arteries of the brain.
When these plaques succeed in blocking these arteries, preventing sufficient blood (which carries oxygen to the brain), a stroke could occur.
4. Increased feelings of depression and anxiety
Physical activity boosts the secretion of the feel-good hormones or happiness hormones (including endorphins).
These help relieve the individual of stress and feelings of anxiety as well as depression. Now when an individual does not engage in physical activity, this leads to reduced secretion of these feel good hormones and increased anxiety results.
So now you know what to do when you’re faced with increased feeling of anxiety or depression. Get you kit on, and take a walk!
An individual is said to be obese when he or she has a body mass index of 30 and above. In case you don’t know how to calculate that, there are still other means of estimating whether you’re obese or not. Kindly consult your physiotherapist for a more accurate result.
Individuals that do not engage in physical activity are at a higher risk of acquiring and living with obesity.
Now if you’ve ascertained that you are living with obesity or that you’re on the higher side (if you know what I mean), then you need to increase your physical activity level. Physical activity would help you burn excess fat and can help you achieve your desired body shape.
6: Type 2 Diabetes:
Physical inactivity is one of the leading causes of type 2 diabetes. It helps the body utilize the blood sugar effectively as there is increased demand for glucose during exercise and the body absorbs the glucose from the blood to the muscles and other organs.
Whereas when an individual is not physically active sufficiently, there is reduced demand for glucose and therefore prolonged stay of the glucose within the blood. This increases the risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
Research has shown that individuals who are insufficiently physically active are at a higher risk of developing certain cancers like colon, breast and uterine cancers. Also, mild to moderate intensity exercise has been shown to help improve the lifestyle of people loving with cancer.
So now you know what you must do especially during this covid-19 induced lockdown. Get active, get fit!
In my next post you will find out ways of becoming more active at home especially amidst the covid-19 induced lockdown.
Thank you for reading today’s post. Kindly drop your questions and comments in the comments section and I will hear from you, but until then, keep fit.
A final year medical student at the University of Nigeria. A fitness coach and a music director.