The importance of physical activity cannot be emphasized enough. Today’s society is moving towards a more sedentary lifestyle as increases in transportation, communication, work place environment and entertainment technology has advance the physical activity demands on our bodies have decreased leading to a startling growth of obesity in the United States. According to the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) analysis published in August 2015, shows that nearly two –thirds of adults are at an unhealthy weight.
The World Health Organization (WHO) indicates that physical inactivity is the fourth leading risk factor for death worldwide. According to a 12 year study published in the New England Journal of Medicine, being sedentary has such a high risk that those who sat an hour longer each day were at increased risk mortality. In the same study, retired men who walked more than 2 miles a day lived longer than those who walked less than a mile a day.
There is a greater need than ever to increase the daily activity level to maintain both cardiovascular fitness and body weight. Regular exercise will maintain the performance of your lungs and heart. It will efficiently burn off excess calories and keep your weight under control. Exercise will also improve muscle strength, increase joint flexibility and improve endurance.
Physical activity decreases the risk of heart disease, the leading cause of death in America. It can also decrease your risk of stroke, colon cancer, diabetes and high blood pressure to name a few conditions among many. Regular exercise has been long associated with few visits to the doctor, hospitalization and medication use.
Exercise does not have to be something boring or very strenuous. It can be something that you enjoy that helps to increase your overall happiness in your life, as well as relieve symptoms of stress, depression and anxiety. It is not what you are doing, as much as it is whether or not you are doing something. Any type of moderate activity like walking, swimming, biking or organized sports can contribute to your physical fitness.
According to the 2008 Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans, adults should do 2 hours and 30 minutes a week of moderate-intensity, or 1 hour and 15 minutes (75 minutes) a week of vigorous-intensity aerobic physical activity, or an equivalent combination of moderate- and vigorous-intensity aerobic physical activity. Aerobic activity should be performed in episodes of at least 10 minutes, preferably spread throughout the week. Adults should also do muscle-strengthening activities that involve all major muscle groups performed on 2 or more days per week.
It is important for EVERYONE to stay active throughout their lives. More than 60% of Americans do not get the recommended amount of physical activity needed. Remember “Those who think they have no time for bodily exercise will sooner or later have to find time for illness” ~Stanley Edwards