An Australian personal trainer has revealed what really happens to your body when you don’t exercise, and the shocking long-term health implications of living too much of a sedentary lifestyle.
Rachael Attard, from Sydney, said there are many reasons why you should incorporate some form of physical activity into your day – from reduced risk of cardiovascular disease to a better mood and a healthier body.
Rachael shared how you can become more gently physically active by doing things like standing up at work and introducing small walks into your daily regime.
According to the World Health Organisation, about one in four people are physically inactive. Experts recommend 30-60 minutes of moderate activity, like walking, three or four times a week.
An Australian personal trainer revealed what happens to your body when you don’t exercise, and the shocking long-term health implications of a sedentary life (Rachael Attard pictured)
Rachael said not exercising over the long term can lead to a number of things, including high blood pressure and risk of cardiovascular disease (stock image)
What happens to your body when you don’t exercise?
Higher risk of high blood pressure and cardiovascular disease
The first negative effect of sitting down too much – whether that is to work, relax or commute – is you have a higher risk of high blood pressure and cardiovascular disease.
‘People who don’t exercise are much more likely to develop high blood pressure. In fact, they have a 30-50 percent greater risk of developing it than somebody who does exercise,’ Rachael wrote on her website.
‘Over time, high blood pressure causes damage to the blood vessels. This can lead to heart disease, kidney problems, and strokes.’
But even if you don’t have high blood pressure, the PT said a lack of exercise is associated with increased risk of cardiovascular disease.
You need to do some form of cardio. Good examples include walking, jogging, cycling or swimming – all of which help your heart and cardio levels.
High risk of type 2 diabetes
The second thing you can expect might come your way if you never exercise is type 2 diabetes.
Type 2 diabetes is a chronic condition that affects the way the body processes blood sugar (glucose).
‘Exercise helps to improve insulin levels, and it helps the body control blood sugar. A lack of exercise does the opposite, and it plays a big role in developing type 2 diabetes,’ Rachael said.
Some studies even indicate that exercise isn’t the only contributor, but staying lightly active throughout the day too.
For this, Rachael recommends you seek to get 10,000 steps per day. You can track this with the Health app on your phone or with a wearable fitness gadget.
While exercise is predominantly for the benefits of your physical health, it can work wonders at transforming your mood and mental health too, Rachael (pictured) said
While exercise is predominantly for the benefits of your physical health, it can work wonders at transforming your mood and mental health too.
Rachael highlighted that when you exercise, your body produces endorphins.
These help to make you happier and can even improve your tolerance to pain.
The flipside is that people who don’t exercise or who have stopped exercising often experience a sudden decrease in their moods.
Can lead to obesity
Of course, a lack of movement can easily contribute to obesity, as living an active life helps you to burn more calories.
Rachael said that being active also helps to increase your metabolic rate, which helps to prevent weight gain over the long term.
Can lead to cancer
Finally, the PT highlighted that weight gain and cancer can be related.
Keeping to a healthy weight can reduce your cancer risk.
How to become more physically active
Rachael said one of the best ways to become more physically active without too much fitness required is to start walking.
She recommends walking to do your errands if you need to get something done on a Saturday morning, rather than hopping in the car.
You can also give yourself a step goal on any given day in order to inspire and motivate you.
If you want to incorporate a little exercise into your day, Rachael (pictured) said you should aim to go out on little walks and also stand up at work as much as you can
Exercise as you clean
The second thing you can do is incorporate a little workout into all of your regular chores.
‘We all have to clean, and some chores can be mini-workouts by themselves. Carrying laundry, scrubbing a floor, and even vacuuming can make your body work,’ Rachael said.
If you feel like this isn’t enough, she recommends adding extra moves – like calf raises when you put things away in the kitchen and dancing while you vacuum.
Stand up at work
If it’s possible, standing up at work can work wonders for your overall fitness and physique.
Even if you alternate standing up and sitting down, standing every 30 minutes will go a long way to making you fitter.
Incorporate yoga into your day
Finally, yoga is great for both your body and mind, and lots of the moves can be incorporated into your working day.
‘Consider setting reminders on your phone if you’re busy or prone to forgetfulness. They can help remind you to get up from your desk, drink some water, and stretch,’ Rachael said.
To find out more about Rachael Attard, you can visit her website here.