Is Not Exercising Really Worse for Your Health than Smoking?

Smoking has been the antithesis of healthy living for a long-time now, but recent media coverage suggests that it may have to share the stage of shame with an even more dangerous killer: inactivity.

That’s right: sitting on your ass has been widely touted as being more harmful to our health than puffing away on the ol’ cancer stick. But it is really?

Impartial research suggests not. While a sedentary lifestyle is certainly not good for you, and carries with it many of the same risks as smoking, smoking still reigns supreme as the biggest danger between the two. 

This said, it’s important that you do understand that being chronically sedentary poses very real, very life-threatening risks. Risks that cannot only shorten your life, but make your years living less vital.

Let’s take a look at the dangers of being sedentary. (Nothing like a little fear-based motivation!)

  1. Fitness Leads to Longer Life

Unsurprisingly, being fit helps you live longer. But the surprising part is how being unfit can actually impact your longevity. In fact, extremely high intensity interval training, specifically, is linked to the greatest survival rate, meaning that each jump squat could be helping you gain more years on your life. One of the best things about HIIT is you don’t need a ton of time or equipment to reap the rewards. In fact, you don’t even need a lot of money. (In fact, you can get a free one month trial of Sweatflix now, which gives you risk-free access to thousands of HIIT workouts for all fitness levels. Check it out.)

  1. Sedentary Lifestyle and Health Risks  

A sedentary lifestyle can be as simple as sitting for ten hours a day, and many of us achieve that all in a workday. Sitting too much can lead to a build-up of proteins in the body called troponins, which are released by the heart muscles when they’re damaged (doctors look for a surge of these proteins in the blood to diagnose a heart attack). Over time, this build-up of troponins could explain why sedentary lifestyles are more at risk for cardiovascular disease and other conditions. Not moving enough can also impact the part of your brain responsible for memory formation, leading to an early cognitive decline.

  1. The Fitter You Are, The More Benefits

The upside of this? These studies also show that there’s no limit to the benefit you get from being fit. There was a concern that being incredibly fit could actually detract from your health (think the world’s most extreme athletes), but research has shown that the opposite is true: there’s no level of activity and exercise that causes you risk, as the ultra-fit are at a lower risk of mortality. So, keep pushing those boundaries and chasing your fitness goals!

At the end of the day, cardiovascular diseases are some of the most expensive to treat and manage, and sedentary lifestyles can vastly increase your risk of developing them. Proactively fighting them by exercising and moving more can not only help you add years to your life and lead to a better quality of life, but it can also help reverse the damage of a sedentary life. Treat exercise like a prescription from the doctor if you have to, but make sure you’re moving every single day, and engaging in effective, intense workouts regularly to fight the good fight for your health. 

Sign up for a free trial of Sweatflix now. This isn’t a fad: this is your life. Take it seriously. 

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