What Health Problems Are Partly Caused by a Lack of Exercise?

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Lack of physical exercise partly causes many health problems such as cardiovascular disease, high blood pressure, coronary heart disease and certain cancers, according to the Johns Hopkins Medicine Health Library. Physical activity also significantly reduces risk for disease in general. Thousands of deaths per year in the United States can be attributed to lack of physical exercise.

Physical exercise is the primary prevention mechanism for 35 different chronic conditions. A study published in Comprehensive Physiology reveals that maladies such as Type II diabetes, osteoporosis, obesity, insulin resistance, deep vein thrombosis, endometrial cancer, nonalcoholic fatty liver disease, polycystic ovary syndrome, hemostasis, constipation, rheumatoid arthritis and gallbladder disease can be caused by a sedentary lifestyle. Physical activity can prevent most chronic conditions.

In 2008, around 5.3 million deaths out of 57 million total worldwide were attributed to inactivity, according to Time magazine’s analysis of a study published in Lancet. Of those 5.3 million deaths, most were from diabetes, heart disease, breast cancer and colon cancer. The study indicated that if inactivity was reduced by 10 percent, a total of 533,000 lives would have been saved. If physical activity increased to 25 percent, 1.3 million deaths might have been prevented. Further, the overall life expectancy of humans would have increased by 0.68 years if everyone was active enough to maintain health.