Is our lack of motion killing us? Absolutely. In fact, one of our most unhealthy “activities” is our lack of activity, the sedentary lifestyle of our first-world nation status, where more and more, we sit – at a desk, at a computer, in front of a television – nearly every day of the week, as opposed to engaging in any meaningful physical activities.
In fact, some experts even say our chronic immobility is as dangerous to our health as cigarettes.
“Smoking certainly is a major cardiovascular risk factor and sitting can be equivalent in many cases,” Dr. David Coven, cardiologist with St. Luke’s-Roosevelt Hospital Center in New York, said.
Coven said the latest research indicates that excessive sitting and inactivity has been linked to a whole host of health problems, including heart disease, obesity, diabetes, cancer and even premature death, CBS News/San Francisco reported.
“The fact of being sedentary causes factors to happen in the body that are very detrimental,” he said.
When we sit for long periods of time, he said, our bodies essentially go into a sort of storage mode, made worse the longer – and more often – we remain essentially motionless.
Dr. Coven’s warning mirrors that of the World Heart Federation, which said the same thing – inactivity could kill you as quickly as smoking – this week.
“Even moderate exercise such as a brisk walk for 30 minutes most days helps control weight, cuts stress, anxiety and depression,” said Prof. Mario Maranhao, president of the organization. “Wherever you live in the world, there is no substitute for moderate but regular exercise and with a small amount of effort you can make a big difference.”
The group said research shows inactivity increases the risk of high blood pressure by one-third and Type 2 diabetes by half.
Prof. Maranhao also warned that too many children around the world aren’t getting enough physical exercise and as such, are early candidates for these diseases.
That’s not news – it’s been known for some time now that inactivity is a large part of why American kids are increasingly obese. When kids spend too much time in front of a TV or video game, not only do their waistlines increase but their brain power suffers too.
What’s troubling, however, is when officialdom ignores these well-known facts and instead puts the blame on some abstract concept, like the health care system in general.
Activity is the key. Get the kids up and outside – to run, play, ride a bike, or, since it’s summer, in a pool to swim. You should do yourself a favor and join them. Don’t let your office cubicle be the death of you.