November 3rd, 2021
What Is The Real Cost of Inactivity?
The Government of Canada recommends that all adults achieve about 150 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity each week. However, Statistics Canada notes that only about 16% of adults achieve this recommended amount.
And it makes sense if you consider the fact that we spend more time than ever on screens, move less than humans ever have, and have replaced many labour-intensive tasks with machines.
From a wellness perspective, all that convenience comes with a real and significant cost. How does this cost weigh out in the long-term? Let’s take a look.
Why It's Dangerous to be sEDENTARY
COST #1: Increased Risk of Chronic Diseases
Several studies associate increased sedentary time with many adverse health conditions and chronic diseases, including coronary heart disease, type 2 diabetes, breast and colon cancers, and osteoporosis.
Undeniably, these chronic diseases greatly reduce an individual’s quality of life. On top of this, there are costs to the healthcare system, as well as the impact on those that care for you and love you.
In contrast, the World Health Organization (WHO) states that physical activity can significantly help prevent these non-communicable diseases. They even go on to claim that four to five million deaths every year could be avoided with a more active population.
COST #2: Increased Risk of Cognitive Impairments & Mental Illness
A lack of physical activity is further correlated with cognitive impairments and mental illness. Studies show that any frequency of moderate exercise is inversely correlated with the odds of having a mild cognitive impairment, including dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.
On the flip side, research shows that regular exercise can vastly improve mental health and wellness, including those diagnosed with depression and anxiety. It’s even been noted that exercise can help with low self-esteem.
Exercise is also a great way to sustain, maintain, and improve cognition. In fact, studies indicate that physical activity is a major gene modulator, creating positive structural and functional changes in the brain. Consequently, this can greatly enhance cognitive function and overall well-being.
Get Back on Track
If you haven’t been reaching your physical activity quota and are feeling – or want to prevent – the costs of inactivity, we can help you get back on track and into a regular exercise routine. We work with many clients who have never exercised before and will meet you exactly where you are and create a safe and customized plan to increase your fitness, through personal training at home – either in-person (in Toronto), virtually (anywhere) or in our Leaside studio. First workouts are completely free – click here to apply for a complimentary fitness assessment and first workout today!
Statistics Canada “ParticipACTION Pulse Report”
U.S. National Library of Medicine – “A systematic review of the evidence for Canada’s Physical Activity Guidelines for Adults”
World Health Organization (WHO) – “Physical activity”
U.S. National Library of Medicine – “Health benefits of physical activity: the evidence”
JAMA Network – “Physical Exercise, Aging, and Mild Cognitive Impairment”
U.S. National Library of Medicine – “Exercise for Mental Health”
U.S. National Library of Medicine – “Effects of Physical Exercise on Cognitive Functioning and Well Being: Biologial and Psychological Benefits”
Updated on September 6, 2022.