The effects of physical inactivity on your body
Inactivity is when all or part of the body is not moving. It is most often a condition that occurs after a serious illness or surgery in which you are unable to move. It is similar if you have a broken bone or an injury and you cannot move a limb. Many people choose “immobility” of their own volition. An inactive lifestyle (sitting at work, in the car, in front of the TV) is just as damaging to your body as the result of illness.
A sedentary lifestyle reduces the strength of your muscles, reduces the range of motion of your joints, stiffens ligaments – directly causing muscle and joint pain. It also increases the risk of osteoporosis. But you can change and improve this – just start moving regularly.
It’s different when illness forces you to be inactive! When an accident, surgery puts you in bed or a broken limb in a cast.
The effects of inactivity
By immobilization, you mean that your movement is permanently limited or impossible. You may have been immobilised to help you heal (e.g. a cast due to a fracture), at other times you should not exert yourself following surgery. What they have in common is that you stop moving your muscles and a series of adverse processes are triggered.
- Oedema (fluid build-up) occurs.
- Proliferation of interstitial fluid makes connective tissue harder and stiffer.
- Circulation is impaired and thus metabolites and toxins are not removed.
- Non-moving muscle loses mass and strength rapidly because the body does not maintain it in excess. Atrophy (muscle wasting) can result in muscle volume loss in as little as 2-3 weeks.
- Muscles and ligaments become stiff and this further reduces the range of motion of joints.
Avoid immobilisation as much as possible!
In some cases, immobility is inevitable. Take conscious action to avoid it! If complete immobilisation is not absolutely necessary, don’t stay inactive! Just because you have a cast doesn’t mean you can’t stay active! Don’t stay in bed after surgery either.
Those parts of your body and muscles that are not affected by the surgery should be moved, exercised and used regularly!
Various manual therapy methods (fascia therapy, flossing, FDM, massage, etc.) can help. They loosen up flattened tissues, dissolve abnormal adhesions in connective tissues, stimulate blood circulation. This improves the removal of waste products, improves the flow of fluid between tissues and eliminates oedema.
Start physiotherapy as soon as possible after surgery or fractures! Early exercise plays a major role in speeding up rehabilitation. Ask your physiotherapist for help on how to move your muscles. His or her expertise will ensure that you take small steps at the right pace, don’t overdo it, and don’t damage yourself!
Recovery takes time! Don’t think that moving your arm once or twice is “done”. Do the exercises persistently on your own, not just when the physiotherapist is present. You’re not working for him, you’re working for your own recovery!
It is especially common after surgery to be unable to move the affected joint for days. Rehabilitation determines how quickly you can return to daily life. You need to maintain the strength and mass of your muscles. Daily exercise and tools to help speed up the process are key to this.
To maintain muscle mass and strength, use a muscle stimulator device. During muscle stimulation, the device delivers electrical impulses that cause muscle contractions – just like during exercise. The difference is that a muscle stimulator can produce the desired effect in a shorter time. The advantage is that the joints do not move during stimulation.
Buy a muscle stimulator for your home that has muscle atrophy management and muscle mass gain programs. With a dual-channel device, you can treat about two palm-sized areas at once. Buy one if you need to treat one shoulder or one knee, for example. If your powdery blemish is bilateral (e.g. both knees), you should choose a 4-channel device. You can treat 2-3 times the area in half the time).
Other physical therapy procedures
You can also use soft laser therapy and ultrasound therapy to stimulate healing of the injured area.
To sum up, strive to move and speed up your recovery even when immobility is unavoidable. Learn the exercises you can do with the help of a physiotherapist and repeat them as often as possible. Use muscle stimulation, soft laser and ultrasound to speed up recovery.
I write my blog articles based on decades of medical and medical technology experience.
Healing work and therapeutic methods are constantly changing and evolving. Medical devices designed for personal use provide a new range of treatments for the doctor and the patient.
In my articles I describe these new devices and their applications.
I hope to help you maintain or regain your health.