We often look at the benefits of exercise as if you are doing to your body good thing when you exercise' like you are earning bonus points for doing something out of the ordinary. I believe that regular exercise should be the norm, and that living a sedentary life should be something that very few people do. In light of this, I want to look at some of the dangers and health risks associated with lack of exercise and physical activity.
1. Lack of energy
My dad always said that it takes energy to make energy. Your body has the amazing ability to adapt to your environment and the actions that you take. It does this via many bio-chemical processes and one of these processes is the conservation of energy. When you don't spend energy on doing something, your body will not spend precious energy on maintaining these processes, since they are not needed. If your body was to maintain everything regardless of whether it was needed or not, we wouldn't have survived. Therefore, when you don't expend physical energy via exercise or activity, your body learns that this is not necessary and will get used to the idea of using less energy. This is why people who do not exercise have less energy and get tired quicker than people who regularly exercise. When you exercise, you are forcing your body to use energy. As a survival mechanism, your body will make more energy available to you, since it assumes that you need this energy in order to survive again in the future. When you have more energy (as a direct result of exercise), your body is more able to perform all functions that require energy, such as physical and mental performance.
2. Decreased blood flow
Your body depends on blood flow to deliver nutrients throughout the body and eliminate waste products form different tissues, organs and other body parts. Your body was created to be physically active and therefore it depends on exercise to ensure that blood flows effectively throughout your body systems. Lack of proper blood flow leads to your body not getting the right nutrients that it needs. It also prevents your body from operating in sync with itself. Hormones that are released in your system will not be as effective as they should be, because they cannot reach their intended destinations fast enough. Also, blood can pool in certain areas of the body without proper circulation. This blood can't be cleaned and ends up holding onto waste products that need to be eliminated and does not reach the places where it is supposed to pick up precious nutrients.
3. Mood complications
Your body uses a hormone called cortisol, which is a stress hormone, to communicate that the body is in danger and needs to gear up for action. This hormone sets off certain alarms in the body that tell it to limit some biological processes because it needs to be ready for the impending danger. Exercise relieves this hormone and lack of physical activity keeps the body in a 'stressed' state for longer than it should be. Build-up of cortisol can negatively affect your moods, along with other negative health implications.
Since your body does not face the physical challenge of activity, it will struggle to shut down and enter into its natural sleep cycle for recovery. These disturbed sleep patterns prevent your brain form entering the reconfiguration processes that it frequently needs and stops it from being able to 'absorb and digest' things that happen during your daily life. This can lead to depression, anxiety and other mood complications.
Exercise stimulates the release of the endorphin hormone which is gives you a happy 'high'. Since we were made to be physically active, we are supposed to experience the feel-good effects associated with this happy hormone. Endorphin deprivation has been strongly linked to depression, tendency towards addictive behaviors and negative decision making.
4. Weight loss
Regular exercise ensures that your body maintains its fat-burning abilities. When your body is permanently in fat storage mode and does not enter into fat usage mode, your fat stores become more than what your body can handle. This was not accounted for in our natural make-up, since we were made to be physically active. When we are storing more than what we can handle, we run into diseases associated with obesity like heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, certain cancers, osteoarthritis, gout, breathing problems including sleep apnea and asthma, and bladder disease.
5. Every organ is affected
Every organ is affected. Why? Our bodies are lazy, just like us. We were made to be lazy in order to conserve energy when we don't need to use it and only get physically active when we need to. This was nature's is of making sure that we conserve energy for the times that we really need it. We might have beaten nature by not ever needing to be physically active, but it bites us back because the lack of exercise we were designed to perform goes against our core design. Let's take a look at our liver, for example. It will conserve energy by not operating at full capacity. Exercise forces your liver to work at a more intense rate to recover and prepare your body for the next possible challenge. The same is true for your bladder, lungs, heart and kidneys.
6. Toxin build-up
Your body uses exercise to detoxify itself. When you exercise, organs are activated and blood flow increases. This promotes the release of waste products, toxins and other things that your body needs to get rid of. These are then released through your sweat, urination and bowel movements. Did you know that exercise makes your bowel movements more regular!?
I hope this gives you a better idea about the importance of being physically active. STAY STRONG!