Health & Wellbeing

How physical inactivity affects your body: Interactive map

Group of women doing stretching exercises

How would you feel if you looked in the mirror and saw the damage that inactivity was doing to your body? We imagine you’d be shocked and more than a little frightened!

The trouble with inactivity is that you can’t tell how much damage it’s doing to your body until it’s too late.

Activity for everyone

Physical activity should be undertaken daily, or as often as possible, by everyone regardless of age, ability or condition. 

Children & young people

Children should be physically active from as early as possible and encouraged to develop the fundamental movement skills from an early age This will set them up for an active lifestyle and give them the skills and confidence to participate in PE and sports in later life. Young people should keep this activity up as part of a healthy lifestyle.


More than 40% of women and 35% of men are spending more than six hours a day sitting still. Our society has trained us to believe that sitting down all day is normal, when inactivity is the fourth largest cause of disease and disability in the UK. Physical inactivity is the new epidemic that is responsible for 1 in 6 (17%) of deaths in the UK, making it as dangerous as smoking. Some adults believe that they do not need to be active, because they are a healthy weight, however, the benefits of physical activity transfer to increases in mobility, strength levels, balance and coordination and not just weight management.


It’s essential that older adults remain active in later life. As we get older we become more sedentary, we sit for longer periods of the day and leave the house less. Physical activity declines with age to the extent that by 75 years only 1 in 10 men and 1 in 20 women are sufficiently active for good health. Some older adults may think they are too old to be active, but that’s not the case. Research has shown that Older adults who participate in ANY amount of physical activity gain some health benefits, especially weight-bearing and resistance type activity, as this helps in maintaining healthy bones and reduces atrophy (muscle wastage and a reduction in strength levels) and cognitive decline.

Interactive body map

Academic news and commentary website, The Conversation, produced an interactive body map which brings together scientific evidence of the links between lack of physical activity and disease. 

This map is brilliant because it reveals all the hidden illnesses that physical inactivity has on your body. 

Most shocking statistics

82% higher risk of getting Alzheimer's if physically inactive.

57% higher risk of developing cardiovascular disease if physically inactive.

70% higher risk of getting type 2 diabetes if physically inactive

37% higher risk of having a stroke if physically inactive

Follow the link to go to the interactive map and discover more shocking statistics.