You’ve likely heard it many times before; regular physical activity has plenty of benefits. Not only will it give you a healthy mind and a healthy body, it can help you look and feel better too.
That’s all fine and good, but maybe hearing about all those good things isn’t enough motivation for you to get started. We’re all motivated by something. For me it was a fear of getting Dementia like my mom. For others it’s cancer or heart disease.
So let’s flip the script; what are the negative or bad things you can expect if you never exercise?
- Your Heart Gets Weaker. Decades of research confirm time and time again that a lack of regular exercise and physical activity increases your risk for a heart attack, hypertension, atherosclerosis and other heart conditions.
- You Become Less Happy. Doing an exercise you enjoy releases endorphins (the so-called “feel good” hormone). Decreased levels of endorphins can contribute to negative feelings, and may lead to increased risks of depression.
- You Feel More Stress. It might sometimes seem backwards (particularly if you’re new to exercise, or just getting back into it after a long time off), but exercise — even appropriate amounts of strenuous exercise — actually lowers stress. So if you never exercise you’re actually contributing to higher levels of stress.
- You Increase Your Risks of Osteoporosis. Too much sitting, and not enough walking, moving and exercising, will put you at increased risk of osteoporosis, as well as osteoarthritis and other bone diseases.
- Your Sex Life Suffers. Leading an inactive life decreases sex drive in both men and women, as well as the quality of sex. Maybe I should have put this first on the list!
- Your Immune System Suffers. The more sedentary you are, the harder it is for your body to fight infections, cure itself of illnesses, and heal itself from injuries.
- You Gain Weight. Actually, let’s be clear on what we’re talking about, because weight gain itself isn’t necessarily bad if we’re talking about muscle. But when you don’t exercise your body tends to pack on the pounds in the form of excess fat. And carrying around too much fatty tissue increases your risk of diabetes and other chronic health problems. Did you know that you can get fat inside your body too? Fat can accumulate around your organs. It’s called visceral fat and it is dangerous to your health.
- It Becomes Harder to Breathe. Your body can go for days without food, but you’ll only last a few minutes without oxygen. If you never exercise, your breathing capacity becomes diminished and your whole body will suffer.
- Your Self-Esteem Can Suffer. What’s one natural consequence of everything we’ve discussed above (increased chances of obesity and depression, higher levels of stress, and a poor sex life)? Not exercising means your self-esteem and self-worth is likely going to suffer.
- Your Life Expectancy Declines. Think about all the great things in your life. Don’t you want to enjoy them for as long as possible? Not exercising is directly related to a shorter life expectancy.
How many of the things in the list above do you want to avoid? Are you ready to make exercise a part of your life? I know it’s a shitty list. Nobody wants these things. We all want to live vibrant lives with energy and vitality. Unfortunately, many people have forgotten what that feels like. Maybe you haven’t felt energetic or healthy since you were a kid. The point is that with some small changes to your life, like a little bit of exercise that you enjoy doing, you can get your health back. In fact, you can be healthier than you’ve ever been.