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New studies show that 28% of adults are physically inactive. Sitting is the new smoking. Are you one of 1 in 4 Americans not getting enough actviity?
According to a plethora of articles and news items over the last several years, sitting is the new smoking. And if that’s the case, then things are looking pretty grim for American adults. A study released late last year by the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) revealed that 28% of adults over 50 (or roughly 31 million Americans) are inactive beyond the basic movements required for daily life. That means more than 1 in 4 older adults move only the bare minimum required to get them through the day. No additional exercise. No walks. No fitness, cycling, dancing, or other leisure activity that requires them to move. They go from their bed to the office to the couch and repeat. If it sounds awful, it is; not only due to the lack of stimulation and socialization but because put simply, inactivity has an enormous negative impact on quality and length of life.
According to sources from the CDC, US News, and NY Times:
75% of healthcare costs go toward treating chronic disease, and
Prolonged sitting is the #1 contributor to chronic disease.
Our inactivity is costing us dearly.
“Sitting is the most underrated health-threat of modern time,” says Tom Rath, author of the New York Times bestselling book, Eat Move Sleep. In an article in Forbes magazine, Rath shared a sobering fact, “Researchers found that sitting more than six hours in a day will greatly increase your risk of an early death.” What else can lack activity contribute to? According to the World Health Organization, the list is long:
According to the WHO, 60 to 85% of the world’s population - both in developed and developing nations - lead sedentary lifestyles, making this one of the most serious public health problems of our time. 85% of America’s workforce is paid to sit at a desk all day. For more than five decades, there has been a progressive decrease in the number of workers employed in roles that require moderate intensity physical activity. And as the prevalence of office jobs grows, so do the health risks.
But an office job isn’t the only risk factor. When CDC researchers analyzed the data from the 2014 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System to examine patterns of inactivity among adults age 50 and older the analysis showed:
It’s clear that inactivity is bad news, but what happens if we start to move? “Adults benefit from any amount of physical activity,” says Janet E. Fulton, Ph.D. and chief of CDC’s Physical Activity and Health Branch. Get a move on, even just a short break to stand and stretch every hour, and positive benefits quickly add up. The threat of breast cancer drops by 21%. The chances of a stroke drop by 27%. And there’s a 50% reduction in the threat of hypertension, a disease that costs the U.S. over $47 billion annually in direct medical expenses.
Physical activity lets you live longer and helps prevent chronic disease. It improves muscular fitness, raises your metabolism, and helps you lose weight. It reduces stress, anxiety, and depression. It maintains brain function as you age. It increases bone density, improves sleep quality, and helps with digestion and quality of life. It’s the cheapest and easiest “prescription” for our health.
There are many ways to include activity in your day, at home, at work, and at play. Here are just a few ideas to get you started.
The bottom line is, being active will help you live better and longer so get moving today.
For more information on proactive, preventive medicine, turn to Wound Care Solutions, the premier healthcare resource for primary care and geriatric medicine for homebound patients in the Chicagoland area.