Impact of Physical Inactivity on Cardiovascular Disorder

Being physically inactive or sedentary is a very serious problem worldwide. Just as physical activity decreases the incidence of major illnesses, being physically inactive plays an important role in the pathogenesis of the same. In this article, we discuss about the relationship between physical activity and cardiovascular disorder.

Physical Inactivity and Health Risks

Not exercising, being a couch potato (term used for a person with a sedentary lifestyle) or being physically inactive poses great health risks. Physical activity is greatly related to many health risks and cardiovascular disorder is one of them. An inactive lifestyle can lead to the following consequences,

  • Burning fewer calories and an increase in weight.
  • Low muscle strength
  • Weak bones
  • Disturbed metabolism, due to which body will have more problem in breaking down sugar.
  • Weakened immune system
  • Poor blood circulation
  • Hormonal imbalance

All these factors further increase the risk of various chronic diseases like obesity, hypertension, cardiovascular diseases such as coronary artery disease and heart attack, stroke, high cholesterol, type 2 diabetes, osteoporosis, depression and anxiety and even certain cancers like colon cancer, breast cancer and uterine cancer. More inactive a lifestyle is, higher is the risk of all these health issues. A sedentary life can even increase the risk of premature death. Let us understand about physical inactivity and cardiovascular disorder in detail.

Impact of Physical Inactivity on Cardiovascular Disorder

Cardiovascular diseases are a major cause of death in many developed countries. It includes the diseases such as heart attack and stroke. Physical inactivity increases the risk of heart diseases and even worsens the condition in those already suffering from heart ailments. When considering the impact of physical activity on cardiovascular disorder, it is important to know the ways in which inactivity increase the risks of cardiovascular disorders.

Physical activity increases the risk of endothelial dysfunction, systematic inflammation, thrombosis and can accelerate the atherosclerotic process. It also increases the risk of diabetes, hypertension, and obesity. All these factors further increase the risk of cardiovascular disorders.

Endothelial dysfunction – Reduction in bioavailability of nitric oxide is endothelial dysfunction. It is the initial event in the development of atherosclerosis. If a person isphysically inactive there is no stress on the endothelial cells, which further decreases the nitric oxide synthase expression and increases the nitric oxide scavenging. In this way, physical inactivity contributes to increased risk of cardiovascular disorder.

Thrombosis – Thrombosis is an important factor in the end-stage progression of atherosclerosis. It plays an important role in the pathogenesis of acute myocardial infarction, ischemic stroke, unstable angina, and sudden cardiac death. Physical inactivity leads to an increase in hemostatic markers including fibrinogen, increase in blood viscosity and plasminogen activator and blood coagulation factors, which lead to blood coagulation in the vessels or thrombosis. Thus, physical inactivity, increases the risk of thrombosis or clot formation, which is a major risk factor for cardiovascular disorder.

Systemic inflammation – Systemic inflammation is evidenced by an increase in C-reactive protein, interleukin-6. An increase in the level of these markers increases the chances of heart diseases. A less active person has more chances of increase in plasma levels of these inflammatory markers. Hence, again, physical inactivity plays a role in increasing the risk of systemic inflammation and cardiovascular disorder.

Diabetes – Diabetes is a well-known risk factor for cardiovascular disorder. Less activity increases insulin resistance and glucose intolerance and raises the risk of diabetes and other metabolic problems. Various studies done suggest that a physically active person had a lesser risk of developing diabetes and associated risks, thus linking physical inactivity and cardiovascular disorder.

Obesity – Sedentary life, no exercise schedule, or being physically inactive is the major factors which lead to obesity. A moderate level of physical activity is required for weight loss as it helps boost metabolism and burn calories. But physical inactivity can increase the risk of obesity and ultimately cardiovascular disorder.

Hypertension – A physically inactive lifestyle leads to an increase in vascular resistance, activity of the sympathetic nervous system and the renin-angiotensin system. This increases the blood pressure and the incidence of hypertension, thus again raising the risk of cardiovascular disorder.

Physical Activity Tips for People with Cardiovascular Disorder

After knowing the disadvantages of physical inactivity, it is necessary to take appropriate steps in the right direction. Here are some suggestions regarding physical activity for people with cardiovascular disorder,

The most importing thing is to find the exercise type that suits you and you enjoy doing it. It helps to keep you up with it or be regular, as most people lose interest and are not able to continue a particular schedule for long.

Endurance exercises such as walking, cycling, and swimming are best for those suffering from cardiovascular diseases, as all of these are good for the heart.

Aqua aerobics or walking in water is also a great way to remain physically active and reduce risk of cardiovascular disorder.

Weight lifting exercises are good to develop muscle strength but are not as good for the heart as the endurance exercise. But these can be planned to keep the joints and muscles strong, which help to perform cardio workouts.

Being active with light household chores is also a good idea to keep your metabolism going.

There are various opportunities throughout the day to keep you active. It’s only that you need to look for them. Cycling with a group of friends, enjoying group sports or walking down the shops instead of driving are a few small ways which can increase the level of your daily physical activity.

Physical inactivity and cardiovascular disorder are surely related, but their relation can be positively modified to ensure better health. The health benefits of being physically active are overwhelming and play a major role in the prevention of cardiovascular diseases. A positive mindset and a good company are all you need to get go for it.

Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA
Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA
Written, Edited or Reviewed By: Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA Pain Assist Inc. This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer
Last Modified On:November 6, 2018

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