Lack of Physical Activity Kills
The medical evidence about the positive benefits of regular physical activity — and the costs of our increasingly sedentary lifestyles could fill a library. And yet less than one-third of Americans meet the minimal recommendations for activity as outlined by the CDC, ACSM and AHA expert panels.
Roughly 250,000 deaths per year in the U.S. are directly attributable to a lack of regular exercise, and many large studies show that exercise helps prevent cardiovascular disease, diabetes, osteoporosis and colon cancer; lowers weight, blood pressure and "bad" cholesterol levels; and improves mood and the immune system.
The 30 Minutes of Daily Recommended Exercise Can Be Taken in Five- or Ten-Minute Bursts
While the Surgeon General recommends a half hour of moderate-intensity activity on most days of the week, it's been proven that shorter, repeated bursts of activity do the trick.
- One study showed that multiple workout sessions as short as six minutes apiece helped reach fitness goals similar to those achieved by 30-minute workouts.
- Another study showed that short walks after dinner were actually more effective than long exercise sessions in reducing fat and triglyceride blood levels.
- A different study revealed that short bouts of exercise helped lower blood pressure and shaved inches off the hips and waistline.
People can get their 30 minutes of moderate daily exercise just by making a few little changes: by walking briskly for ten minutes, or taking the stairs over the elevator. For instance, a new Canadian study found that not only does it take twice as long to get to a designated floor by elevator versus the stairs, but that walking up and down seven flights knocks out 10% of the recommended 10,000 steps a person is supposed to take a day.
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