Fitness and Exercise: Surprising Signs You're Not Moving Enough

Regular exercise helps your bowels stay regular so you don't get constipated.

You're Constipated

When you move more, your colon moves more, and it's easier to poop on schedule. Healthy muscle tone in your abs and diaphragm is also key to moving waste through your digestive tract. Consistent exercise can help you stay regular, especially as you age.

Joints may stiffen and lock up if you don't get enough physical activity.

Your Joints are Stiff

Achy, hard-to-move joints can sometimes be a sign of inflammatory conditions like arthritis or an autoimmune disease. But joints can also stiffen when you don't use them enough. Put them to work so they don't lock up and cause you pain.

If you become out of breath easily, it may be due to not moving enough.

You're Always Out of Breath

Just like biceps get weaker when you don't use them, the muscles that help your lungs move in and out as you breathe lose strength if you don't work them out regularly. The less activity you do, the more breathless you get, even during easy daily tasks.

Exercising can help keep anxiety and depression at bay.

You're Moody

A lack of movement hurts more than just your physical health. It can also increase feelings of anxiety and depression. Get your blood pumping on the regular. Cardio exercises like walking, biking, swimming, or running, will boost and steady your mood, and even improve your self-esteem.

Moving more helps deliver oxygen and nutrients to tissues and helps you feel energized.

Your Tank's Always Low

Feel sluggish and tired most of the time? Exercise helps deliver oxygen and nutrients to your tissues. If you spend most of your time sitting, they aren't getting the same.

The faster your metabolism is, the more you tend to move.

Your Metabolism’s Slower

People with "fast" metabolism may just move more -- even if that movement is fidgeting. The more active you are, the more calories you burn each time you move.

Exercising will help you sleep better at night.

Your Sleep’s Shot

If you're tired of counting sheep at night, get up and get moving during the day. When you keep a regular exercise routine, you fall asleep faster, and you sleep deeper once you drift off.

Being more physically active leads to a sharper brain.

You’re Forgetting Things

Regular exercise tells your body to make more chemicals called growth factors. They boost blood vessel production in your brain. The more blood that gets to your brain, the better you can think, remember, and make decisions.

Too much sitting and not enough physical activity increases your risk of high blood pressure and heart disease.

Your Blood Pressure's Up

Spending most of your time sitting raises your risk of heart disease. That's partly because you're more likely to have high blood pressure, a big risk factor for heart issues like coronary artery disease and heart attack.

Exercise helps you ward of prediabetes and high blood sugar.

You Have Prediabetes

When physical activity is a regular part of your life, your body has an easier time keeping your blood glucose under control. Stable blood sugar levels keep you out of the type 2 diabetes danger zone.

Strong core muscles support your back and minimize the risk of back pain.

Your Back Hurts

When your core muscles are weak from lack of use, they can't support your back the way they should. This makes it much easier to tweak your back muscles during everyday movements like standing or reaching. Pilates, yoga, and other exercises that use stretching are good for building a stronger back.

Exercise reduces levels of hunger hormones so you're less likely to overeat.

You Always Want to Nosh

Seems like you'd be hungry more often if you exercised more, but the opposite is usually true. Aerobic exercise like biking, swimming, walking, and running can actually decrease your appetite because it changes the levels of certain "hunger hormones" in your body.

Getting regular exercise boosts your immune system and reduces your risk of illness.

You're Sick A lot

Studies show the more moderate activity you get, the lower your chance of catching a cold or other germs. When you make exercise a habit, your immune system gets stronger.

Moderate exercise boosts circulation and helps your complexion shine.

Your Skin has Lost Its Shine

If your skin looks duller than usual, a lack of movement may be to blame. Some studies show that moderate exercise boosts your circulation and your immune system, which helps your skin keep that youthful glow.



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  • Harvard Health Publishing: "Common causes of constipation," "Don't be such a stiff," "Exercise can boost your memory and thinking skills."
  • My Lungs My Life: "Physical activity and exercise."
  • Johns Hopkins Medicine: "Risks of Physical Inactivity."
  • Anxiety & Depression Association of America: "Physical Activity Reduces Stress."
  • The Mayo Clinic Diet: "Cardio 101: Benefits and tips."
  • Mayo Clinic: "Exercise: 7 benefits of regular physical activity," "Metabolism and weight loss: How you burn calories."
  • CDC: "Lack of Physical Activity."
  • for Quality and Efficiency in Health Care: "Low back pain: Why movement is so important for back pain."
  • Journal of Sports Science & Medicine: "The Effects of Exercise on Food Intake and Hunger: Relationship with Acylated Ghrelin and Leptin."
  • Journal of Sport and Health Science: "The compelling link between physical activity and the body's defense system."
  • American Academy of Dermatology Association: "11 Ways To Reduce Premature Skin Aging."
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