Physical inactivity has always been regarded to have serious implications for people’s health, according to the World Health Organization. However, since the COVID-19 pandemic started last year, people were essentially forced to stay inside their homes which may have encouraged some people to lead sedentary lifestyles. This led to what experts call “pandemic-induced physical inactivity” as the lockdown restrictions reduced public access to physical activity opportunities like visiting gyms, public parks, pools, and sports centers.
Lack of physical activity has clearly been shown to be a risk factor for a lot of conditions. The problem is, many people are not aware of those risks. So, how exactly does an inactive lifestyle affect your body? Let’s enumerate some of the risks:
Chronic Health Problems
Failing to exercise can contribute to the development of chronic medical conditions. According to a report released by the World Health Organization, physical inactivity is one of the leading causes of disease and disability around the world. The worst part is, these could be chronic conditions like type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and cancer.
We are currently in a waiting game in terms of vaccinations for COVID-19, which means many people are still stuck in their homes, with very little motivation to go out and exercise. These conditions could actually lead to some people developing mental health disorders, such as anxiety and depression.
Obesity and Weight Issues
Maintaining an optimal weight during the pandemic can be quite a challenge. With very limited choices of retailers, grocery stores, and food service establishments, staying healthy and active was difficult, to say the least. As such, people resorted to eating less healthy options while others ate whatever was available to survive the lengthy lockdowns. That combined with the lack of exercise leads to obesity and weight issues, which increases the risk of developing diabetes, cancer, and heart disease. Weight problems are also associated with reduced quality of life and poorer mental health.
Increased Risk of Osteoporosis
One of the lesser-known risks associated with an inactive lifestyle is developing bone problems. Osteoporosis, a chronic health condition where the bones of the body get thinner and more brittle, is linked with a lack of exercise. With most of the population spending hours upon hours sitting behind a desk and working from home, the probability of developing osteoporosis is at an all-time high. This is further compounded by the fact that some people in a remote working setup tend to work longer hours as the boundary between home and work is blurred.
Chronic Aches and Pains
As mentioned above, working long hours behind a computer is bound to cause some detrimental effects to an individual. Lower back pain, stiff neck, and nerve compression due to awkward postures are just some of the possible risks when living a sedentary lifestyle. According to a large population study published by the National Institute of Health, physically active individuals are less likely to develop chronic pain.
Mental Health Problems
As the uncertainty and insolation brought about by the COVID-19 lockdowns take a toll on many individuals, the risks of having mental health problems are that much higher now than ever. Add to that is the physical inactivity that was also the result of the pandemic. This increases the risk of depression, anxiety, and other mental health problems associated with spending more than a year of inactivity.
With all the risks associated with physical inactivity listed above, you should understand just how crucial it is for you to find ways to stay active and healthy. As most countries expect to get their vaccinations within the next few months and beyond, this is the perfect time to devise ways to bring back your active lifestyle.
For more health-promoting tips and articles, check out Aspen Medical Center’s blog. We are the only locally owned outpatient medical facility in Santa Fe, NM, offering a range of services, including vaccinations, sports physicals, and urgent care services. Whenever you need help from a primary care doctor and other specialists, contact Aspen Medical Center. Call us today to schedule an appointment.