The Surprising Long-Term Effects of Inactivity

In our first two blog posts we addressed the significant health obstacles posed by working from home. We covered:

  • Adding in regular micro-breaks of activity 
  • Moving our joints through a variety of range of motions multiple times per day
  • The ways that posture does and does not impact our pain.

To review, click here: https://www.lakesidechicagochiro.com/working-from-home-part-1-2/

Now we’d like to discuss how lack of movement can influence our overall health.

What are the consequences of inactivity?

According to the CDC, 80% of the US population does not reach the recommended amount of exercise and activity. Children today are 60% less active than their counterparts in the 1990s. These are shocking statistics. 

Inactivity and lack of exercise contributes to musculoskeletal issues, which are the largest cost to healthcare and can lead to disability. Getting the recommended exercise and movement can make a huge impact on the prevention of chronic disease. 

What are the recommended weekly exercise guidelines?

  • 150 minutes or 2.5 hours of general activity like walking or doing rigorous chores
  • 30 minutes of resistance training

A Harvard Health study found that after the age of 40, you lose 1% of muscle mass per year and after 50 you lose 3%. This loss of muscle mass (sarcopenia) impairs management of blood sugar and results in what many have considered “normal” aspects of aging-like increased joint pain, loss of joint function and difficulty performing normal tasks. 

We don’t lose function and have an increase in pain because we age, but because we get weaker. While 1% seems small, by age 60 a sedentary person will have lost 40% of their muscle mass. This means that simply getting up from the toilet and walking down the stairs will become not only more difficult, but a risk for fall and injury.

What’s even more alarming is that this epidemic is not being addressed within the mainstream world health organizations. The solution is there- and it doesn’t take years, it only takes a few months! 3 months of reaching the recommended exercise guidelines will reverse muscle loss, even in a 65-year-old that has been sedentary for 20 years! 

What does a week look like if you want to reach these goals? 

  • 22 minutes of brisk walking per day
  • 30 minutes of resistance training 2x per week

The thought of embarking on a strength training regime can be daunting, especially for those without previous lifting experience. It does not have to be complicated; you just have to familiarize yourself with the fundamental movement patterns which include: Push, Pull, Carry, Squat, Lunge and Hinge. 

Check out the videos by Dr. Pare and Dr. Koch linked below for instructions on how to perform some of these movements on your own. 

What to take from this post:

  • 2.5 hours of general activity plus 30 minutes of resistance training 2x per week can prevent chronic diseases
  • Only 3 months of reaching the recommended exercise guidelines can reverse muscle loss
  • Incorporate the fundamental movement patterns push, pull, carry, squat, lunge and hinge into your strength training routine 

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