By now we all know that exercise is healthful, however, over 60 percent of American adults still are not regularly active, and 25 percent of you are not active at all. I am happy to say I am now active more than once per week.
Although, many have started off enthusiastic out their new found work out routine, most do not sustain their routine. They are wiped-out in a day or week time.
However, the US is not the only country having problems with an inactive population. People in higher income countries get the least amount of exercise with the UK being the worst. The global challenge is to make people more active. I recently read an article on BBC News that Inactivity is as deadly as smoking. The article was based on a report published in the Lancet in Great Brittan which states that about a third of adults are not doing enough physical activity and that equates to about 1 in 10 deaths.
My question is: Whose duty is it to get people to be more active? Should there be a government mandate? Should it be the doctors? Should it be a personal responsibility? However, the government has taken steps to ensure the health of Americans. The President’s wife Michelle Obama has a campaign to get Americans, especially, children on the move.
Outside the school, physical activity programs and initiatives face the challenge of a highly technological society that makes it increasingly convenient to remain sedentary and that discourages physical activity in both obvious and subtle ways. Nearly half of young people 12-21 years of age are not vigorously active; moreover, physical activity sharply declines during adolescence. Childhood and adolescence may thus be pivotal times for preventing sedentary behavior among adults by maintaining the habit of physical activity throughout the school years.
Special efforts will also be required to meet the needs of special populations, such as people with disabilities, racial and ethnic minorities, people with low income, and the elderly.
Points to Consider– In activity does this to the body: Sedentary living is estimated to be responsible for approximately one-third of deaths due to coronary heart disease, colon cancer, and type 2 diabetes (Powell and Blair 1994).
Physical inactivity is therefore a key factor in the etiology and progression of chronic diseases, including cardiovascular and metabolic diseases which are common, debilitating and costly.
This and more recent studies confirm that physical inactivity is an important contributor to obesity, diabetes, hypertension, heart disease, colon cancer, breast cancer, and premature death. In addition, regular physical activity:
- reduces feelings of depression and anxiety;
- helps to control weight;
- helps to maintain healthy bones, muscles, and joints;
- prevents falls among older people;
- reduces the risk of breast cancer;
- promotes feelings of well-being;
- positive effect on the muscular-skeletal, cardiovascular, respiratory and endocrine systems;
- The changes in these systems are consistent with reduced risks of coronary heart disease, reduced hypertension, reduce colon cancer, reduced diabetes mellitus.
- Reduces depression, anxiety, improves mood and enhances the ability to perform daily tasks.
A contributing factor to inactivity:
- According to research done on premature mortality in San Francisco local dependence on cars contributes to reduced physical activity.
- Technology driven society
- Loss of community
Recommendations to get moving:
1) 1995 Dietary Guidelines for Americans, the basis of the federal government’s nutrition-related programs, included physical activity guidance to maintain and improve weight
– 30 minutes or more of moderate-intensity physical activity on all, or most, days of the week.
– Moreover, for people who are unable to set aside 30 minutes for physical activity, shorter episodes are clearly better than none.
2) Sedentary people, especially those with preexisting health conditions, who wish to increase their physical activity, should therefore gradually build up to the desired level of activity.
3) Attention has been drawn recently to findings from three studies showing that –cardio-respiratory fitness gains are similar when physical activity occurs in several short sessions (e.g., 10 minutes) as when the same total amount and intensity of activity occurs in one longer session (e.g., 30 minutes).
Although, strictly speaking, the health benefits of such intermittent activity have not yet been demonstrated, it is reasonable to expect them to be similar to those of continuous activity.
4) It’s easy to fit physical activities into your daily routine:
>Walk, bike or jog to see friends.
>Take a 10-minute activity break every hour while you read, do homework or watch TV.
>Climb stairs instead of taking an escalator or elevator.
>Try to do these things for a total of 30 minutes every day.
>Garden, push a lawn mower instead of ride one.
>Vigorous work-outs – when you’re breathing hard and sweating – help your heart pump
better, give you more energy and help you look and feel best. Start with a warm-up
that stretches your muscles. Include 20 minutes of aerobic activity, such as running,
jogging, or dancing. Follow-up with activities that help make you stronger such as
push-ups or lifting weights. Then cool-down with more stretching and deep breathing. >Dance to music
>Children can play games like tag and hopscotch like back in the golden days
>Join a sports team at school or the park
By Yourself: With Family:
-Fly a kite -Go on a walk together
-Practice sports skills -Play at the park-Turn off the TV for a day
-Do cartwheels, somersaults, or jumping jacks
-Mow and rake the lawn