The Harmful effects of Inactivity

by on July 21st, 2012 at 9:17 am

Ancient physicians such as Hippocrates believed and understood the benefits of physical exercise. However, during the 20th century, an opposite view began to form. In fact, patients of heart attack were prescribed bed rest!

“…At the time of the 100th boat race between the Universities of Oxford and Cambridge, UK, in 1954, the senior health officer of Cambridge University undertook a study to investigate the alleged dangers of exercise by comparing university sportsmen with intellectuals.” 1. As we know now, these beliefs are ridiculous, but were widely held until 1953 when Jerry Morris began the first studies to disprove that exercise is harmful.1 Since then, countless studies have been done that prove the benefits of exercise.  Nevertheless, despite this knowledge, much of the world remains inactive.

It’s well known that lack of physical activity can lead to many health problems, but did you know it is the cause of 1 in 10 deaths around the world? 1 This means that lack of physical activity is as deadly as smoking. A new study published in the British journal the lancet has found inactivity to be of epidemic proportions. The researchers of this study estimate that “If inactivity were not eliminated, but decreased instead by 10% or 25%, more than 533 000 and more than 1-3 million deaths, respectively, could be averted every year.” 1. These numbers are astounding, and should be a cause for concern for inactive people around the world.

Findings from the study show that increased physical activity in adults can reduce rates of:1

  • All-cause mortality
  • Coronary heart disease
  • High blood pressure

 

Sources:

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 Lee ScD, I-Min, Eric J. Shiroma, Felipe Lobelo MD, Pekka Puska MD, Steven N. Blair PED, and Peter T. Katzmarzyk PhD. “Effect of Physical Inactivity on Major Non-communicable Diseases Worldwide: An Analysis of Burden of Disease and Life Expectancy.” The Lancet (n.d.): n. pag. Effect of Physical Inactivity on Major Non-communicable Diseases Worldwide: An Analysis of Burden of Disease and Life Expectancy : The Lancet. Effect of Physical Inactivity on Major Non-communicable Diseases Worldwide: an Analysis of Burden of Disease and Life Expectancy, 18 July 2012. Web. 19 July 2012. <http://www.thelancet.com/journals/lancet/article/PIIS0140-6736(12)61031-9/fulltext>.

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