A lot of people that are physically inactive throughout the day aren’t so by choice. More and more jobs are in an office setting. These environments are sedentary by nature, and don’t tend to encourage physical activity. While some try to remedy their lack of movement during the day by doing some basic things at their desks, others will do their best to get some exercise in after the workday is over. Some, if they’re smart, try to do both. Nonetheless, our inactivity is costing us more than our just our health. A lot more.
A study conducted by the University of Sydney showed that physical inactivity had a world cost of $67.6 billion in 2013. That’s billion with a “B.” Researchers came up with that hefty total by observing healthcare cost, productivity losses, and disability-adjusted life years for five diseases that are generally associated with physical inactivity and obesity: coronary heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes, breast cancer and colon cancer.
There are a lot of layers to this study and its results, but it starts with the issue of physical inactivity. And this is not just a domestic problem; it’s a global issue. The study included 142 countries which contains 93.2 percent of the world’s population, making this a rather holistic perspective of how much our lack of inactivity is costing us. That isn’t lost on the researchers.
“Physical inactivity is recognized as a global pandemic and not only leads to diseases and early deaths, but imposes a major burden to the economy”, says Dr. Melody Ding, lead author of the study and Senior Research Fellow from the University School of Public Health. The economic burden is a real one. Out of the $805 million Australia paid for inactivity, $91 million was from the private sector.
And while some people pay the price with their wallet, others pay with their health.
Although this is an expensive problem, there seems to be a rather easy solution: We need to be more physically active — especially those at a younger age. Adolescents are practically given every reason to not be active; 3-D televisions, social media, and iPads can make them feel as though they are living a full life while sitting on the couch.
As for adults, there are many short-cuts we can employ when it comes to combatting a sedentary lifestyle. Finding at least some time in the day to be physically active, even at your desk, is a healthier option than succumbing to the outcomes that studies like this suggest. Living a more active lifestyle is always better — physically, mentally and fiscally.