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What Happens if You Are Not Physically Fit?

author image Graham Rix
Based in the United Kingdom, Graham Rix has been writing on the arts, antiquing and other enthusiasms since 1987. He has been published in “The Observer” and “Cosmopolitan.” Rix holds a Master of Arts degree in English from Magdalen College, Oxford.
What Happens if You Are Not Physically Fit?
It's never too late to get physically fit. Photo Credit: Digital Vision./Digital Vision/Getty Images

If you allow yourself to become seriously unfit, you may experience all sorts of unwelcome repercussions, from lower energy levels and depression to a heightened risk of disease and early death. The good news is, it's never too late to start, although if you are already suffering from heart or lung ailments you should seek the advice of your health care provider in devising a fitness regime.

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Obese woman.
Obese woman. Photo Credit: Digital Vision./Digital Vision/Getty Images

Without regular exercise, your metabolism – the process by which your body turns food into energy – slows, making it harder to shed unwanted pounds. Health risks associated with obesity include high blood pressure and high cholesterol levels, which can lead to heart-attacks and strokes. In addition, an overweight body can cause a poor self-image and feelings of depression.

Bad Heart

Model of the human heart.
Model of the human heart. Photo Credit: Fuse/Fuse/Getty Images

An inactive lifestyle is bad for your heart and can lead to serious cardiac ailments. Bear in mind that the heart is a muscle, which needs to be exercised. A fit and healthy heart has a stronger beat than an unfit one, meaning that it is able to maintain the blood flow within your body with less effort. An unfit heart beats faster even when you are at rest, because it has to work harder to achieve the same result. Poor blood flow can result in strokes and also hampers your immune system.

Risks of Disease

Measuring blood pressure.
Measuring blood pressure. Photo Credit: Medioimages/Photodisc/Photodisc/Getty Images

As well as factors already mentioned, such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, heart disease, depression and stroke, an unfit individual is also at risk from type 2 diabetes and various forms of cancer. Additionally, an unhealthy lifestyle can exacerbate chronic conditions, such as arthritis and osteoporosis, which is a reduction in bone density. With low joint mobility and poor core strength, you may also be at greater risk from falls and injury through accidents.

Psychological Effects

Feeling depressed.
Feeling depressed. Photo Credit: Jupiterimages/Goodshoot/Getty Images

An inactive lifestyle can affect your mood adversely. An unfit individual won't experience the antidepressant and stress-alleviating benefits of exercise. Low energy levels resulting from an unhealthy cardiovascular system can make you less successful at work and at play, with secondary effects upon your self-esteem and feelings of belonging. A deteriorating self-image can lead you to feel that you are losing control over your life generally, provoking panic and depression.


Giving up smoking.
Giving up smoking. Photo Credit: SandraMatic/iStock/Getty Images

Even after years of an unhealthy lifestyle, your body can bounce back with a moderate exercise regime, such as a brisk daily walk. According to the University of Maryland Medical Center, regular exercise in a group of 50-year-old men resulted in health benefits equivalent to giving up smoking. However, don't embark on a new workout without first checking with your doctor.

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