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What really happens to our bodies when we don’t exercise?  We’re not talking about completing the Noosa Tri or competing in the CrossFit Games.  We’re talking about half an hour of movement ideally getting your heart rate elevated.

Let’s take a deeper look at what can go wrong:

Bone mass

What’s best for bone mass to preserve bone density and prevent osteoporosis? Make sure you are getting enough calcium, grab your sneakers and get outside. Vitamin D and resistance exercise like weights are crucial for caring for bones especially as you age.

Feeling blue

Lack of exercise doesn’t just compromise our physical health.  Our mental wellness can suffer too. Endorphins, the brain’s “feel-good” chemicals, are released.  Try walking, a spin class, dancing, aerobics or running to turn that frown upside down!

Lack of sleep getting you down

Sleep habits are now understood to be as important for health as your eating habits. Lack of exercise can affect your sleep levels which can lead to weight gain, depression, inflammation, higher stress levels and chronic diseases like heart disease and diabetes.

A shorter life

One of the many problems with lack of activity is less longevity. In other words, the less active you are, sadly, the greater your chances of early or sooner death. Studies show that regular physical activity can help you live longer and cut your chances of early death significantly. Getting less than 30 minutes a week of exercise can accelerate risk of death, but by committing to 7 hours a week of activity you can cut your risk of dying early by 40%. If that sounds unrealistic or out of your current comfort zone, even 2.5 hours a week of moderate-intensity activity can make you more likely to be around in years to come.

Want to exercise but still have reservations?

Movement and exercise aren’t always the same thing: Moving, walking, stretching, just getting up and moving your body is most important for health. Don’t feel you need to do a lengthy or super intense workout to get benefits. Research is consistent and clear; activity or simply moving is most valuable. The benefits of walking and movement are so vast—everything from lowering blood sugar and diabetes risk or combating fatigue.

Getting up from your desk for 5 minutes every hour to take a quick walk around the building, to the bathroom or for more water can add up and help. Park further away, taking the stairs one or more flights, or walking the dog for an extra lap around the block, count towards your 30 minutes.

What are your favourite physical activities? When do you fit them into your busy lifestyle? We’d love to hear from you!