Guest Blog Post by Health & Fitness Expert Margaux Diaz
According to the CDC, 80% of American adults don’t meet recommended exercise guidelines or more precisely, only one in five people meet both aerobic and muscle-strengthening exercise recommendations. Even without official reports, it’s safe to see that most people aren’t overly active nowadays. Somehow, comfortable sofa and TV or Netflix seem more appealing after a hard day at work than going to the gym, jogging, or doing some exercises at home. A sedentary lifestyle is associated with obesity and poor health, but we usually consider it to be less dangerous than alcohol, smoking, or some diseases. It turns out, lack of physical activity is as harmful as smoking.
Harmful impact of sedentary lifestyle
A growing body of evidence confirms that lack of regular exercise heightens the risk of many health conditions such as coronary heart disease, Type 2 diabetes, breast and colon cancer, and so on. It’s also well-known that sedentary lifestyle shortens life expectancy. To find out how the lack of physical activity is harmful, I-Min Lee and a team of scientists at the Harvard Medical School carried out the study. To quantify the effect of physical inactivity on these major health problems, they calculated population attributable fractions (PAFs) linked to lack of exercise utilizing conservative assumptions for each of the major non-communicable diseases by country.
Results, published in the journal Lancet, show that sedentary lifestyle causes 6% of the burden of coronary heart disease, 7% of Type 2 diabetes, 10% of breast cancer, and 10% of colon cancer. Findings also show that physical inactivity causes 9% of premature mortality. This means that back in 2008 when the data was analyzed, of 57 million deaths occurred, about 5.3 million were due to lack of exercise. Even more shocking is the fact that more people may die from inactivity than from tobacco use. The study paints the picture of reality where people are reluctant to exercise although it could bring substantial health benefits such as weight loss, joint pain relief, reduced risk of cardiovascular diseases, diabetes management, longer life, and so on.
Harmful effects of a sedentary lifestyle are best seen in comparison to smoking, back in 2000, about 5 million people worldwide died of tobacco use. That said, the number of deaths caused by smoking decreased since then. On the other hand, 5.3 million deaths due to physical activity show it’s more dangerous than smoking. Now if we bear in mind that a vast majority of people don’t exercise, it’s perfectly clear why these results are so shocking.
Glozine Health News also found some positive that you will motivate you to get up and move; being more active could increase the average life expectancy of world population by 0.68 years. In the United States, life expectancy could increase to 1.3 to 3.7 years from the age of 50. So, longer life coupled with reduced risks of various diseases are just some of many reasons you should exercise. It’s needless to mention you’ll be more energetic, productive, and confident.
Lead author of the study explains that primary goal of the report is to make physical inactivity problem a global health priority. Although actions and programs to reduce tobacco and alcohol use do show positive progress, the lack of exercise still hasn’t been widely acknowledged as a standalone health threat despite the fact it is the fourth leading cause of death on the planet.
How much exercise do I need?
You don’t have to spend hours in the gym to experience health benefits that exercise has to offer. In fact, it’s enough to meet recommended guidelines. Yes, the same guidelines that only 20% people in the US meet. But, before you start assuming that’s a difficult task, here’s how much adults (18 to 64) should, actually, exercise:
- 2 hours and 30 minutes (150 minutes) of moderate-intensity aerobic activity every week and muscle-strengthening exercises on 2 or more days a week.
- 1 hour and 15 minutes (75 minutes) of vigorous intensity aerobic exercise a week and muscle-strengthening exercise on 2 or more days a week.
- Equivalent of moderate and vigorous intensity aerobic exercise on a weekly basis and muscle-strengthening exercise on 2 or more days a week.
Here are some tips to get more physical activity on a daily basis:
- Take the stairs whenever possible
- Drink plenty of water
- Clean your home regularly
- Do gardening
- Walk whenever possible: don’t park right next to the workplace, walk or ride a bike to the store, etc.
- Stand up and walk around house when talking on the phone.
Lack of exercise is as harmful to your health as smoking. However, one can expect great health benefits just by increasing their physical activity levels. Being more active and opting for healthier diet options are important factors of healthy lifestyle and you can easily accomplish those targets.
About the Author
Margaux Diaz is Health and Fitness Expert. She is dedicated to empowering human to make healthy food choices, boost their energy and feel great in their body. To get more tips regarding health and Diet Plan connect with her on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+.