The Silent Killer: Unveiling the Dangers of Physical Inactivity

In the hustle and bustle of our daily lives, it’s easy to neglect the one thing that keeps us going strong – our physical activity. But here’s a sobering truth: not getting enough movement can lead to heart disease, even if you have no other risk factors. Yes, you read that right. Physical inactivity is a silent killer lurking in the shadows, waiting to strike when we least expect it.

On the other hand, regular physical activity is proven to help prevent and manage noncommunicable diseases (NCDs) such as heart disease, stroke, diabetes and several cancers. It also helps prevent hypertension, maintain healthy body weight and can improve mental health, quality of life and well-being.

Physical activity refers to all movement. Popular ways to be active include walking, cycling, wheeling, sports, active recreation and play, and can be done at any level of skill and for enjoyment by everybody.

Yet, current global estimates show one in four adults do not have enough physical activity. As countries develop economically, levels of inactivity increase and can be as high as 70%, due to changing transport patterns, increased use of technology for work and recreation, cultural values and increasing inactive behaviours.

Physical inactivity isn’t just a minor inconvenience; it’s a leading risk factor for noncommunicable diseases (NCDs) and death worldwide.

Heart disease, once thought to be a specter haunting only those with apparent risk factors, has found a new ally in physical inactivity. Startlingly, even individuals devoid of other predispositions are not immune. The dangers of a sedentary existence extend beyond the heart’s domain, embracing obesity, high blood pressure, elevated cholesterol levels, and the ominous specter of type 2 diabetes.

Why does inactivity earn the nickname of the “silent killer”?

Because it quietly harms your health over time without you realizing it until it’s too late.

But how does one discern the subtle warnings of a body silently besieged by inactivity?

Constipation, stiffened joints, persistent breathlessness—these seemingly harmless symptoms may serve as indications of a sedentary existence.

How do you know if you’re not moving enough?

There are some sneaky signs that your body gives you, like feeling constipated, having stiff joints, getting out of breath easily, feeling moody, always feeling tired, having a slow metabolism, having trouble sleeping, and forgetting things.

Why do people end up not moving enough?

It’s often because we spend a lot of time sitting down with your computer at work, watching TV for long hours, sitting in a vehicle for hours on traffic for people who live in a city like Lagos, and the list is endless. Even our jobs and how we get around have become less active because of technology and changes in society.
What happens to your body when you don’t move enough?

Your muscles start to get weaker and smaller because your body doesn’t need to use them. And sitting too much can cause other health problems like obesity, high blood pressure, high blood sugar, extra fat around your waist, and even increase your risk of heart disease and cancer.

But there’s good news! Just a little bit of movement every day can make a big difference. If you can manage about an hour of moderate exercise, like walking, it can help counteract the bad effects of sitting too much.

So, what can you do to move more? Simple things like standing up instead of sitting down, walking around while you’re on the phone or watching TV, or even using a standing desk instead of sitting at work can help. The more you move, the better you will feel, and the healthier you will be!

Let’s all work together to move more and stay healthy!