What happens to your health if you stop exercising?
We all know the therapeutic benefits of exercise and regularly working out, which help keep you in shape and help sustain proper body function. It has been recommended that every healthy individual engage in 45-50 minutes of moderate intensity exercise on a regular basis as well.
But, have you put it to thought, what actually happens when there’s exactly zero exercise? Or when you go without exercising for a significant amount of time?
Harmful effects of not exercising or being physically active
While we can safely agree that there are some lifestyle habits (from drinking, smoking, eating excessive junk) which can be detrimental to our well-being, not actually moving a muscle throughout can be similarly bad.
As we talk and vouch for the benefits of regular exercise, it often gets missed out that engaging in little to no exercise can be just as bad, or even life-threatening. Take this for example. While regular, brisk exercise is said to delay ageing, not meeting required levels of physical activity can actually accelerate your risk of prematurely dying, and causes more deaths globally than tobacco consumption or diabetes, as per a study published in The Lancet. Now, while skipping a day or two of exercise (or a week) wouldn’t do much harm to your body, there’s actually a lot of graver risks which entail if you go without budging an inch, or moving your arms for upwards of a month. We tell you 5 such things which can happen if you do not exercise regularly or remain physically active:
- Your heart becomes less efficient:
Exercise keeps the heart pumping and active. Aerobic and cardio exercises done regularly are linked to a good heart rate and a lower risk of heart ailments. However, if you do not exercise or go a long time without any form of physical activity, you’ll start to experience your heart functioning poorly and have it impact everyday tasks. The heart rate can get distubed, you can encounter shortness of breath and coupled with poor dietary habits, you’ll be vulnerable to facing heightened heart issues and cholesterol levels as well.
2. Your muscles weaken down
One of the most important roles exercise plays is to keep the muscle cells in good shape, and strengthen them. When you do not exercise or move around, not only do you undo all the progress previously made, it can also reduce the muscle strength you have and make you feel a lot weaker. Simply said, your muscles weaken and then you lose out on the bulk of your muscles which are needed for breathing and the ones which facilitate movement.
Even picking up simple weights can seem tougher, and muscle function may not remain energetic or as helpful as before. Weak muscles may also make it difficult for you to carry out everyday tasks and activities.
3. You can struggle to get a good night’s sleep
Believe it or not, exercise has an important link with good quality sleep and if you aren’t fulfilling any of the two- sleep or exercise, you’are exposing yourself at the risk of bad health. When you work out in an intense manner, or retire to the bed tired after a brisk run, chances are you’ll enjoy good sleep and wake up feeling energized. That’s the pivotal role exercise plays in facilitating sleep. And, when you do not move around or stretch those muscles, you’ll risk bad sleep. Not only is exercise a great stressbuster and sleep inducer, not getting good sleep can be a sign that you are skimping on required physical activity needed for the day.
What also needs to be remembered is that poor quality (and fewer hours) of sleep on an everyday basis has also been linked to a number of metabolic and hormonal issues, including diabetes risk, weight gain, poor mental health.
4. You lose out on endurance
Exercise builds stamina and makes you gain endurance. And, when you do not exercise, you are at a big risk of undoing all the gains, and becoming relatively weaker, in a very short time. Remember, endurance counts as a key measure to determine how healthy and fit you are, for your age.
A study done in reference to this actually spent time analyzing the dip in endurance levels over time in kayakers. When their VO2 levels (amount of oxygen exerted during intense exercise) were compared to the time they engaged in only basic exercise, it was observed that there was a whopping 11.2% level drop. With significantly lower physical activity levels, the drop could be even more shocking.
5. Your blood sugar levels get disrupted
Type-2 diabetes is a big risk factor and sadly very common in our country. While its a metabolic disorder characterized by a lot of symptoms, one of the changes which can disrupt blood sugar functioning is lack of physical activity. Yes, that is true. Since exercise plays a major role in determining how your body processes carbohydrates, doing little to no exercise can accelerate blood sugar rise, increase inflammation levels and make you prone to tackling obesity.