Recently, the World Health Organization released a warning that “a sedentary lifestyle could very well be among the 10 leading causes of death and disability in the world.” They claim that 2 million deaths every year are attributed to physical inactivity, making it one of the biggest public health issues of our time.

This issue is especially relevant for the elderly. But no one goes into “old age” planning to be inactive. So what causes it?

1. Avoiding Discomfort

As you age, you may experience more muscle and joint aches. This leads to a viscous cycle. Because it hurts more to exercise, people exercise less, making it hurt that much more when they do exercise. The only way to break the cycle is to bite the bullet and exercise. The good news is, once they start most people report a decrease in joint pain within weeks.

2. Convenience

Everything from cars to the internet has made our lives too easy. Sometimes, for our health, we need to do things the old fashioned way. Walk to the store (or at least don’t park right up next to it), take the stairs, cook your own meals. All these things, though small, add up.

3. Sedentary recreation

There’s nothing wrong with TV or the internet, but enjoy them in moderation. It’s important to make time for physical activities such as walking, fishing or playing games.

4. Disease

Sadly, disease is a leading cause of inactivity that, to an extent, may be beyond your control. But not completely. The symptoms and long-term impact of many diseases can be controlled and improved by regular exercise.

5. Injury

Being injured may have been beyond your control, but recovering isn’t. You can rehabilitate yourself through regularly exercising the injured area of your body. And once rehabilitated, you’ll be able to get back to an active healthy lifestyle.