There are many consequences associated with poor health, which can be brought on by neglecting to exercise enough. Neglecting to exercise can increase your risk for a number of conditions linked to the heart and brain. In addition, your overall wellness decreases dramatically with the onset of obesity, cardiovascular disease, osteoporosis and depression. Some of these conditions can be life-threatening. The negative consequences of a sedentary life can be countered effectively simply by making exercise a part of your daily routine.
Obesity stems from a variety of contributing factors, with caloric intake and lack of exercise being the most significant. The U.S. National Library of Medicine defines obesity as an excess of body weight, which is measured using your body mass index. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 35.7 percent of adults in the United States are considered obese. Obesity is not exclusive to the United States. It's considered a leading cause of death worldwide and is a serious condition.
The consequences of not getting exercise can be neurological. Sarah Mustillo, Ph.D., of Duke University Medical Center, says depression may be linked to obesity through the HPA axis, a hormonal pathway that controls cortisol release, which contributes to weight gain in the midsection and depression. This release can be environmentally or socially stimulated and mitigated by working out regularly. An imbalance in the HPA axis occurs most frequently in children and young adults.
Type 2 Diabetes
A lack of exercise can result in the onset of insulin-resistant or adult-onset diabetes, also known as Type 2 diabetes. This condition refers to an imbalance in glucose levels in your blood, which can cause kidney failure, heart disease and death. Having Type 2 diabetes can mean living with intense hunger and thirst, frequent monitoring of glucose levels and frequent doses of self-injected insulin.
Another consequence of not exercising enough is a reduction in bone mass called osteoporosis. Bone mass increases when your body puts on excess weight, but a study conducted by Lan-Juan Zhao of the University of Missouri showed that this increase is proportionally less than the bone mass ratio of a healthy individual who exercises frequently. This relationship between bone mass and weight means that neglecting to exercise can increase your risk of minor and major bone fractures. Increasing your level of exercise can reverse osteoporosis.
Perhaps the most serious condition associated with a lack of exercise is cardiovascular disease. Cardiovascular disease affects the coronary arteries, which supply blood to your heart muscles. These coronary arteries become lined with a fatty deposit called plaque in a process referred to as atherosclerosis, which can cause heart failure and death. The risk for cardiovascular disease increases significantly in individuals who do not exercise and become overweight.
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Adult Obesity Facts
- U.S. National Library of Medicine: Obesity
- Psychology Today: The Obesity-Depression Link
- LSU Health Sciences Center: Obesity and Diabetes
- National Institutes of Health: Relationship of Obesity with Osteoporosis; Departments of Orthopedic Surgery and Basic Medical Science, School of Medicine, University of Missouri-Kansas City
- Cleveland Clinic: Your Coronary Arteries
- Photo Credit Adam Gault/Digital Vision/Getty Images