Health Risks of Inactivity

Inactivity Kills Like Cancer

A recent study published in the Lancet shows that inactivity, or lack of exercise, causes as many deaths as smoking across the globe. How many deaths is inactivity causing? The answer is an alarming number of 5.3 million deaths annually.

It is estimated that about one adult in every three are not active enough. Inactivity is causing one death in ten due to diseases like cancer, heart disease, diabetes, and so on. The Lancet report also finds that populations in rich countries were less active than poor countries due to various factors. Let’s look at some other numbers:

Inactivity Causes:

Heart Disease = 6%
Type 2 Diabetes = 9%
Breast Cancer = 10%
Colon Cancer = 10%
Premature Deaths = 9%

These numbers are based on data from 2008

It is recommended that you do 2 to 3 hours of exercise per week combining aerobic activity and strength training. A combination of moderate and vigorous activity is recommended. Moderate aerobic exercises include walking the dog, walking to the grocery, swimming, etc. Vigorous aerobic exercises include jogging, running, playing tennis, squash, etc. Strength training exercises are those to work on your major muscle groups such as arms, shoulders, chest, abdomen, back, hips, and legs with the use of weight machines, resistance bands, weight bars, dumbbells, etc. Strength training activities should be done at least twice per week.

First published on Aug 18, 2012 on