If your lifestyle has become too sedentary, it’s time to listen up. Everyone knows that physical activity is an important part of maintaining a healthy lifestyle, but a recent study published in the American Society for Nutrition, proves just how dangerous lack of physical activity can be. The study looked at data from over 334,000 people who participated in the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC) Study. Now that is a seriously large sample size!
Researchers found that lack of physical activity was linked to the greatest risk of death in participants, and actually led to twice as many deaths as obesity alone. According to the study, of the 9.2 million deaths in Europe in 2008, 676,000 were attributed to inactivity, while just 337,000 were connected to obesity. Luckily there is some good news for all of the inactive people out there. The largest reduction in death risk occurred in people who moved from “inactive” to “moderately inactive.” Even small lifestyle changes such as taking a 20 minute walk per day can move someone from one category to the other, and reduce the risk of death anywhere from 16% to 30%.
This study focuses a great deal on the importance of physical activity, but we cannot forget that a strong connection exists between being active and maintaining a healthy weight. While activity on its own can lead to immediate health benefits even in overweight people, the increased activity will also naturally lead to weight loss. Talk about a win-win.
This study should be enough motivation for even the most inactive people to get off the couch and head to the gym, or at the very least go for a walk. No one is saying that you need to start training for a marathon, so start small and see how quickly your health improves.