Summer is upon, us and extreme heat keeps us indoors and less active. Sitting by the pool is nice but won’t burn a calorie. If you don’t belong to a gym or don’t have enough time to get to one, what else can you do?
Walk. It is a great way to start your day and burn calories.
Yes, exercise is good for you. This we know. Heaps of evidence point to the countless benefits of regular physical activity. Federal health officials recommend at least 30 minutes of moderate exercise, like brisk walking, every day.
Studies show that when you adhere to an exercise regimen, you can improve your cardiovascular health, lower blood pressure and improve metabolism and levels of cholesterol and triglycerides.
You can reduce diabetes risk and the risk of certain cancers. And, finally, exercise can help you maintain a healthy weight, which can boost all of these benefits even more.
Epidemiologist Steven Blair, a professor of public health at the University of South Carolina has spent 40 years studying physical activity and health.” Many of us have sedentary jobs and engage in sedentary activities after work, like watching television or sitting around a dinner table talking. When you add it all up, it’s a lot more sitting than moving.”
Blair recently headed a study at the University of South Carolina that looked at adult men and their risk of dying from heart disease. He calculated how much time the men spent sitting — in their cars, at their desks, in front of the TV. “Those who were sitting more were substantially more likely to die,” Blair says.
Specifically, men who reported more than 23 hours a week of sedentary activity had a 64 percent greater risk of dying from heart disease than those who reported less than 11 hours a week of sedentary activity. And many of these men routinely exercised. Scientists are just beginning to learn about the risks of a mostly sedentary day.
“If you’re sitting, your muscles are not contracting, perhaps except to type. But the big muscles, like in your legs and back, are sitting there pretty quietly,” Blair says. And because the major muscles aren’t moving, metabolism slows down.
“We’re finding that people who sit more have less desirable levels” of cholesterol, blood sugar, triglycerides and even waist size, he says, which increases the risk of diabetes, heart disease and a number of health problems.
If there’s a fountain of youth its probably physical activity,” says Dr. Toni Yancey, a professor in the health services department and co-director of the Kaiser Permanent Center for Health Equity at the University of California, noting that research has shown benefits to every organ system in the body.
“So the problem isn’t whether it is a good idea, the problem is how to get people to do more of it.” Information courtesy of NPR