Physical Inactivity

Dance fitness groupLack of exercise can result in a variety of detrimental effects, including increasing your risk of death.4

Muscle Atrophy and Joint Pain

  • The process of your muscles breaking down or wasting away is the medical definition of muscle atrophy.1   According to the American Council on Exercise, muscles begin to break down when they aren’t exercised to their full capacity.2  You gain fattier tissue after your muscle has been broken down as well as lose lean muscle.  As a result of the loss of muscle or muscle atrophy, your metabolism can slow and you can begin to gain even more fat.1
  • Arthritic joints can stiffen and theadjoining tissue can weaken after long periods of inactivity.3
  • There is an increased risk for low back pain for those who do not exercise regularly, especially during times when a person may suddenly have to perform stressful, unfamiliar activities.3

Weight Regain After Dieting

  • Lack of exercise may lead you to regain weight that you have lost, as most are tempted to stop exercising once they have reached goal weight. Exercise is the most highly recommended way to prevent weight regain, according to the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute.5


  • Inactivity, research suggests, may have a detrimental effect on your mental health. There has been shown to be an association between lack of exercise and depression and a lower sense of general well-being, according to research from the American College of Sports Medicine.4

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Cardiac Decline

  • According to the American Council on Exercise, because your heart is also a muscle, your heart begins to rapidly decline in cardiovascular fitness when you don’t get enough exercise.2 Fat will begin to attack the heart, even though it won’t waste away like your arm or leg muscles.  Heart disease, hardening of the arteries, and atherosclerosis are all conditions that can develop from this.  Fat deposits can enter the valves and chambers of a person’s heart, which can be fatal, as fatty deposits will begin to build up in your arteries from lack of exercise.1
  • Because exercise helps to keep blood pressure and cholesterol at healthy levels , about 35 percent of heart disease deaths are due to lack of exercise, according to The New York State Department.8

Increased Visceral Fat

  • Fat that becomes entrapped deep inside your abdomen is known as visceral fat.6   This visceral fat can secrete dangerous hormones and cause health problems such as gallbladder difficulties, heart disease, and metabolic syndrome, making it very toxic.  You may also be at risk of developing breast cancer or insulin resistance, which can lead to diabetes due to the toxic hormones produced by these fat cells.  If you have visceral fat you also put yourself at an increased risk of developing colorectal cancer. 1

Intestinal Effects

  • According to, constipation can be caused by lack of exercise.7  Your body’s digestion process slows when you don’t exercise, causing constipation.  Exercise itself helps your body pass solid waste and promotes digestion.


  • Deaths related to diabetes and diabetes itself are strongly associated with lack of exercise, according to research published in the July 2005 issue of “Diabetes Care”.9


1. LIVESTRONG.COM. (2011, May 26). The effects of lack of exercise on the body. Retrieved January 12, 2012, from

2. American Council on Exercise. (2012, January 1). If You Don’t Use It, Will You Lose It?. Retrieved January 12, 2012, from

3. American Accreditation Healthcare Commission. (2011, May 11). Physical Activity – Exercise’s Effects on Bones and Muscles. New York Times.  Retrieved January 12, 2012, from’s-effects-on-bones-and-muscles.html

5.LIVESTRONG.COM. (2011, May 26). Side Effects of Lack of Exercise. Retrieved January 12, 2012, from

6. Mayo Clinic. (2011, April 16). Women’s Health – Belly Fat in women: Taking – and keeping – it off. Retrieved January 12, 2012, from

7. Kids Health. (2011, October 1). Constipation. Retrieved January 12, 2012, from

8. New York State. (1999, August 1). Department of Health – Physical Inactivity and Cardiovascular Disease. Retrieved January 12, 2012, from

9. “Diabetes Care”; Obesity, Inactivity, and the Prevalence of Diabetes and Diabetes-Related Cardiovascular Comorbidities in the U.S., 2000–2002; PW Sullivan et al; July 2005