The Village News Columns: Your Health

We’d like to thank Dr. Gary Welch from Spectrum Physical Therapy for contributing information that we’re sure our readers will want to know. As we get older, or due to injuries, physical therapy is often the way back to our normal lives.


The Negative Effects of Not Exercising and Inactivity
by Dr. Gary Welch
February 2021

Medicare Cap RepealedI think that we’ve all been there before; the decision on whether to exercise or not to exercise. The excuses that I’ve made or have heard in the past range from “I don’t have time in my day to do this” - “My Schedule is too busy” - “I’m tired” - “I’m overweight” or I’m out of shape and I won’t ‘fit in’ at the gym.” Now we have to decide whether we want to go out with the potential for Covid, or stay in our homes with little to no activity.

An inactive lifestyle leads to a gradual decline in many important markers for cardiovascular health, such as heart disease, hypertension, increased cholesterol, lower HDLs, and decreased efficiency of the muscles absorbing oxygen. These alone should motivate most people to get up off of their chairs, or COUCHES, and get out and be more active!!

It’s a personal choice on whether you’re going to do something about it or not. Let me share some more of the negative consequences of inactivity.

• Increased weight, or obesity. Increased compression on vertebral joints, hips, knees and ankle joints. “Less Muscle and more fat.”
• Decreased metabolism.
• Increased Stress.
• Feelings of depression and anxiety.
• Type II diabetes, which can be reversed with a good diet and exercise.
• Increased risk of cancers, such as breast and colon cancer. Maintaining a healthy weight has been shown to reduce your risk of breast, prostate, lung, colon, and kidney cancer.
• Frequently tired and run down.
• Physically weaker.
• Pain throughout the body with simple activities – weak muscles strain more easily.
• Activities of daily living and work activities become harder to accomplish.
• Bone weakening: Osteopenia, which leads to osteoporosis.
• Vasoconstriction of blood vessels and capillaries.

It’s not age as much as it’s inactivity that makes you feel old, tired, stiff, and achy. The less active you are, the tighter everything becomes. For instance, muscles, tendons, ligaments, and joint capsules all adaptively shorten over periods of inactivity. You become stiffer, less flexible and movement becomes difficult.

Regular exercise will decrease age related changes in your body. Many of the detrimental effects of physical inactivity can be reversed and, in most cases, improved with moderate exercise. In fact, research has shown that the people who exhibited the greatest decline in physical status during inactivity benefited the most from exercise training.

The benefits of exercise and staying active: You feel better, have more energy, have less stress, have an increased metabolism, potentially reverse type II diabetes, improve cholesterol levels, reduce chances of heart disease, reduce blood pressure, reduce the risk of cancer, have stronger muscles and bones. The activities of daily living become easier for you, and you have improved blood flow. Also, exercise releases endorphins, which when released act as analgesics that interact with receptors in your brain that diminish the perception of pain. Endorphins also trigger a positive feeling in the body similar to morphine. This endorphin release will reduce pain, give you a sense of well being, have positive effects with depression and improved self esteem.

It's good to know what the negative effects of inactivity are, but it’s also good to know the positive effects of activity. We can always find a safe way to exercise and build from there to give you a higher quality of life.

*If you have any medical issues that require independent guidance, be sure to consult your physician before starting an exercise program.


Dr. Welch and his team at Spectrum Physical Therapy are ready to answer all of your exercise and physical therapy questions. Click here for more information about Spectrum Physical Therapy.