Get Active

According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 80.2 million people aged six or older are physically inactive. Furthermore, children now spend more than seven-and-a-half hours a day in front of a screen watching TV, playing videogames, or using computers. On our "off" days we are often sitting or spending most of our time doing sedentary activities. So how does an inactive lifestyle affect your body?

Leading an inactive lifestyle can affect your body over time in the following ways:

  • you burn fewer calories which makes it more likely you will gain weight
  • you may lose muscle strength and endurance because you are not using your muscles as much
  • your bones may become weaker and lose mineral content
  • your metabolism could be affected, making it harder for your body to break down fats and sugars
  • your immune system may not work as well
  • you may have poorer blood circulation
  • your body may have increased inflammation
  • you may develop a hormonal imbalance

Having an inactive lifestyle also raises your risk of developing many chronic diseases, such as:

  • obesity
  • heart diseases, including artery disease and heart attack
  • high blood pressure
  • high cholesterol
  • stroke
  • metabolic syndrome
  • type 2 diabetes
  • certain cancers, including colon, breast and uterine cancers
  • osteoporosis and falls
  • increased feelings of depression and anxiety

Regular physical activity is one of the most important things you can do for your health. Start by doing what you can for at least 10 minutes at a time. Every bit adds up and the health benefits increase as you spend more time being active. Adults should aim to get 150 minutes a week of moderate-intensity aerobic physical activity or 75 minutes a week of vigorous-intensity aerobic physical activity. Some examples of aerobic activities include walking briskly or bicycling. Vigorous activities include running/jogging or swimming laps. It is also recommended that adults get some form of muscle-strengthening activity at least two days a week. These activities include things such as pushups or resistance training with dumbbells. While a combination of aerobic and muscle-strengthening exercise provides the most benefit, any form of physical activity is better than none.

It is important for people to ensure they drink plenty of water during and after exercise. You should always check with your doctor before beginning any new form of exercise if you currently have a health condition or injury that could impact exercise levels or that exercise could make worse.

It is ideal to pick an activity that you enjoy doing to keep you motivated to continue. Being physically active is an important part of living a healthy lifestyle. Regular physical activity has so many wonderful benefits such as:

  • helping manage weight by balancing calories in with calories out
  • reducing the risk of heart disease, colon cancer and diabetes
  • improving or preventing constipation
  • lowering blood pressure
  • building and maintaining bones, muscles and joints
  • increasing energy
  • improving sleep, mood, self-esteem and well-being
  • enhancing flexibility and posture
  • building endurance and muscle strength
  • reducing feelings of depression and anxiety
  • improving memory, reaction time and creativity

Remember, our bodies need exercise and a healthy diet to function at their best. So, go grab your sneakers and take a walk today. Your body will thank you.

References: LSU AgCenter,,,

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3/9/2021 8:06:51 PM
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