Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Consequences of Adult Inactivity Syndrome

I think the biggest challenge of fitness professionals today is getting sedentary individuals moving more in a fashion that is conducive to their lifestyle and capability. Physical activity promotes blood circulation and fires red muscle fibers that would normally stay dormant if not used--as in being seated or sedentary for most of the day. A closer look at the consequences of older-adult inactivity reveals many ailments that we know can be reversed simply by participating in an exercise program or some sort of daily activity such as walking, gardening, or house chores.  Here is a run-down of what being seated and lazy can do to your body:

Thyroid and endocrine dysfunction - These important glands see a change in reaction to insulin causing weight gain, sluggishness, and altered fat conversion.

Hypertension - An increase in blood pressure is typically accompanied because there is weight gain and poor cardio-respiratory health

Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease - Breathing becomes more difficult and sooner than later, makes exercise seem like it is 'dangerous' rather than helpful. Smokers are mostly prone to developing this condition.

Loss of calcium in bones - Osteopenia is a condition where bone mineral density is lower than normal and can lead to osteoporosis.

Type 2 Diabetes - The body becomes inefficient at metabolizing glucose (sugar). As weight gain increase the pancreas eventually "burns" out.

Fatigue and lower energy levels - Do you think this is how it all starts? The opposite is true. The more immobile we become and the fatter we become, the lower our energy levels fall and fatigue is a predominate reaction to everyday stress.

Shrinkage of vertebral discs - The vertebral discs loose fluid and begin to shrink causing a loss of cushion in between each disc.

Thickening of connective tissue - The fascia surrounding muscles and organs begins to form adhesiveness that becomes tender, discomforting, and painful. It can be related to wearing a sweater under neath a T-shirt. Thickening connective tissue can make it very difficult to move and joints begin to "ache" more often.

Loss of Flexibility - Along with connective tissue thickening, there is a decrease in range of motion (ROM) at joints. This limitation in ROM causes muscles to not lengthen fully and eventually lose elasticity. Ultimately,  there is a decrease in flexibility.

Overweight & Obesity - To round out this list, a sedentary lifestyle ultimately leaves an individual overweight and /or obese. These conditions accompany physical impairments, however, we must understand how they take a toll on the mental aspect of an individual. Control is something that has been lost in a person once they show an increase in weight; and control is one of the first things people feel when they stick to an exercise program. Achieving control is not easy and therefore, a challenge awaits for both professional and client.

1 comment:

  1. I agree with you John. In fact, the use of the term "syndrome" is apt. Just last week I read a study that Americans will keep growing fatter until 42 percent of the nation is considered obese, and having fat friends is part of the problem. Thanks for highlighting this issue.

    Rick Kaselj


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