According to the World Health Organization, 60 to 85 per cent of the population worldwide does not engage in enough activity, making physical inactivity the fourth leading risk factor for global mortality.
Gerontological research has shown that while one-third of the aging process is due to heredity and biological factors, the remainder is based on one’s lifestyle choices. That’s exciting news, because by taking responsibility for how we live we can gain control over our health and mortality.
Choosing not to exercise regularly is recognized as a health hazard. In fact, sitting is the new smoking, according to Dry James Levine, director of the Mayo Clinic Obesity Solutions Initiative.
Let’s compare the risks of a sedentary lifestyle and the benefits of an active one:
• Being sedentary shortens your life in many ways and increases the risk of serious diseases like type 2 diabetes, cancer and heart disease
• Those who are physically inactive also have an increased risk of breast and colon cancer
• Sedentary people have the highest rates of heart attack, are more likely to gain excess weight and tend to have higher cholesterol levels
• Choosing not to exercise escalates bone loss and the loss of lean muscle tissue you need to move your body to get stronger so you can perform the necessary physical tasks in life.
These are just some of the benefits of exercising regularly:
• Strengthens the heart
• Improves blood flow
• Prevents insulin resistance which is the primary cause of type two diabetes
• Benefits your cholesterol levels
• Reduces the risk of dementia by 50 percent
• Cuts the risk of heart attack in half
• Lowers the risk of stroke by two thirds
• Have a more efficient immune system
• Increased energy
• Increased self esteem
• Increased stamina and strength
• Decreased risk of Osteoporosis
• Enhances oxygen transport throughout the body
• Icreases your range of motion
• Makes body more agile
• Reduces joint discomfort
• Enhances coordination and balance
• Improves posture
• Enhances quality of sleep
• Enables weight loss and keeps it off
• Improves circulation and helps reduce blood pressure
• Eases and possibly eliminates back problems and pain.
Exercise should be fun. Finding an activity or exercise program that appeals to you is key in adherence and well-being over the long term.
For greatest overall health the recommendation is 20 to 30 minutes of aerobic activity three or more times a week, and muscle strengthening and stretching two or more times a week.