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The Effects of Lack of Exercise on the Body

author image Kristin Davis
Kristin Davis has been writing since 2004, specializing in the health and fitness fields. She has written for online and print publications including Fitness Monthly and Creative Circle. Davis has certification through the International Fitness Professionals Association as a personal trainer.
The Effects of Lack of Exercise on the Body
Living a sedentary lifestyle is bad for your health. Photo Credit: Ryan McVay/Photodisc/Getty Images

It’s no surprise that exercise has numerous benefits, such as keeping off excess weight, making your bones strong and keeping your heart healthy. On the contrary, not exercising can have adverse health effects. It can make your bones weak, cause your organs to malfunction and cause you to gain weight, which might lead to one or more obesity-related medical conditions, such as diabetes or hypertension.

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Muscle Atrophy

Muscle atrophy is the medical term that describes the process of your muscles wasting away. When your muscles aren’t exercised to their full capacity, they begin to break down, according to the American Council on Exercise. Not only does this cause you lose lean muscle mass, but it also causes fatty tissue to develop around your muscles. Muscle burns fat, so when your body doesn’t have much muscle, your metabolism slows, and you begin to gain weight.

Cardiac Decline

Lack of exercise can also cause fatty deposits to develop around your heart and in your arteries, notes the American Council on Exercise. Fatty deposits can also enter the valves and chambers of your heart, which can lead to heart failure or a heart attack. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that in 2006, approximately 2.4 million Americans died from heart disease, and heart disease is still one of the leading causes of death in America.

Increased Visceral Fat

Visceral fat is fat that becomes entrapped deep inside your abdomen. It surrounds your heart and other organs and can cause a multitude of health problems, including heart disease, gallbladder problems, metabolic syndrome and more. This fat also secretes dangerous hormones. Some of the hormones produced by these fat cells can increase your risk of developing breast cancer and promote insulin resistance, which might lead to diabetes.

Intestinal Effects

Lack of exercise can also cause constipation, according to Exercise promotes digestion and helps your body pass solid waste. When you don’t exercise, your body’s digestion process slows. If you have a lot of visceral fat and irregular bowel movements, your risk of developing colorectal cancer increases. Exercising regularly to keep your weight under control and increasing the amount of fiber in your diet can minimize your risk of developing this cancer.

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