The Cost of Inactivity

Physical inactivity as we know it has become the art of sitting and doing nothing. The older we get, the less active we become. Inactivity has been linked to cancer, heart disease, diabetes and even early death. But still, our society, especially the aging population, largely continues to remain sedentary.

We know that exercise is good for our health and that the combination of exercise and a sound diet is the key to long-term well-being. Sure eating healthy and being active sounds great, but for many, it’s truly difficult to implement.

But the impact of exercise on our lives is real. It helps us feel better – it makes things easier, and we simply live a better life with the inclusion of exercise than without.

Having strength in our lower bodies allows us to get up to the stairs no problem, makes us able to carry all of the groceries in without taking a million trips. It prevents us from needing to use a walker with a basket because we have two capable hands to carry our belongings. It allows us to thrive in old age, using our age to count our experiences not focus on our impairments.

Maintaining strength gives us confidence in our lives at any age. It shows us that we are capable and energetic enough to finish all of our errands with energy to spare to spend time with family. We are able to focus and enjoy the things we love without physical burden.

Age no longer has to be an excuse when you are physically empowered.

Consider the man in his 70s who had been the go-to fix-it person for his family for 50 years. The man who now with balance issues related to a stroke and bad arthritis in his hips and back thought that he would be stuck with a walker and an aching back for the rest of his days. He started exercising. That walker turned into a cane, that cane became unnecessary and now he carries weights around the gym and groceries around the house.

How about the women in her late 60s. The one who would wake up at 3 AM every morning to make sure breakfast was ready for her family. A lifetime spent standing led to bad meniscus issues in her knees that put her into a wheelchair due to pain. Her doctor told her she needed to strengthen her legs. She started exercising. She can now proudly deadlift 100 pounds, and more importantly, her knees don’t hurt. She can run and she does – after her grandkids.

And what about the man in his 50s. He was an office manager and spent countless days sitting. His back ached all the time. He noticed that as he was getting older he was slowing down and he got sick of the pain. He started exercising. His back doesn’t bother him as much anymore. He can do strict chin ups again! He keeps up with his daughter and son-in-law now when they go out for family outings. He walks beside his loved ones instead of falling behind and slowing everyone down.

Life expectancy is going up. We want those extra years to be ones of ability not disability.

So why should you prioritize a healthy, well rounded lifestyle?

Because people who don’t exercise get sick more! They have more aches and pains. They fall because they don’t have the strength to keep them up.

Spending money on a gym membership may seem like a big expense but the investment over the long term is well worth the cost. A price cannot be placed on the quality of life you aspire to live.

The question becomes where do you place your value? Medical bills can get expensive, no doubt. Placing value in things that contribute to your health and wellbeing. Being able to move to do the things that make you happy. That should be your main priority.

Where do you want to invest your time?

There’s value in having more time without pain. The value of more years spent with loved ones? Avoiding time spent in hospitals or at constant doctors appointments.

More years in your home, being able to take care of yourself? This is the reality of inactivity. Not being active increases the risk of having some of that time taken away.

Every decision you make has short term and long-term consequences. Putting value in your health now allows you to enjoy life the the fullest now and in the future.

This is not a new message. Everyone knows that they “should” exercise. That it is good for us. But forget about what you should do, and simply consider the costs on your lifestyle.

Many people realize too late that they need to make a change. My clients tend to come to me when something has gone wrong – a trigger that has pushed them into the realization that their wellness is slipping away. When conditions have already crept up on a condition that could have been prevented in the first place. Here’s the wonderful thing – things can change! I’ve spent my career helping older adults regain independence they thought they had lost forever. I’ve seen it over and over and it could be you!

So what are you waiting for….?

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Christina Prevett

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