Exercise has been known to cause health and happiness!
WHO ( The World Health Organisation) defines physical activity as “any bodily movement produced by skeletal muscles that requires energy expenditure”. Simple, right? Almost sounds kind of dull if you ask most people. However, did you know that physical inactivity has been identified as the fourth leading risk factor for global mortality causing an estimated 3.2 million deaths globally (WHO 2016)?
Regular moderate intensity physical activity – such as walking, cycling, or participating in sports has significant benefits for our health. For instance:
- it can reduce the risk of cardiovascular diseases
- it can reduce the risk of diabetes
- it can reduce the risk of colon and breast cancer
- it can help with depression
- it boots your energy levels and improves moods
- it can promote better sleep
- it can put the spark back into your sex life…
…you get the point. The benefits of being and staying active are numerous.
However, we are becoming less and less active nowadays, partly because technology has made our lives easier. We drive cars or take public transport. Machines wash our clothes. We entertain ourselves in front of a TV or computer screen. Fewer people are doing manual work, and most of us have jobs that involve little physical effort. Work, house chores, shopping and other necessary activities are far less demanding than for previous generations.
Research suggests that many adults spend more than seven hours a day sitting down, at work, on transport or in their leisure time. People aged over 65 spend 10 hours or more each day sitting or lying down, making them the most sedentary age group.
Reality check: If we take a break for just for one second, and look at our anatomy, body composition, and biomechanics, it really doesn’t take a scientist to work out that we are simply not designed (or have not evolved) to sit down and be inactive. The body we have been given is the most complex, extraordinary and sophisticated piece of machinery ever created; it desperately needs to move, stay active, and be challenged physically on daily basis (regardless of age, race, or gender).
Just Do It
The guys from Nike had it figured out a long time ago: “Just do it”. For most of us, the easiest way to get moving is to make activity part of everyday life, like walking or cycling instead of using the car to get around. However, also remember that, researches now have proven over and over again that the more you do, the better. Therefore, taking part in activities such as sports and exercise will make you even healthier.For any type of activity to benefit your health, you need to be moving quick enough to raise your heart rate, breathe faster and feel warmer. We all know what exercise is; we all know it takes time and effort; however, if we truly understand how much staying active benefits our lives, then the choice is simple…”JUST DO IT”.
At this stage is probably worth mentioning that although regular exercise helps immensely to controls one’s weight (if loosing weight is what the goal is), and benefits our health, exercise alone is ineffective for weight loss. We cannot out-exercise what we put in our mouth. Here is the scary news: to “work-off” a Big Mac, large French fries, and a can of Coke requires at least 1 hrs 30 mins of moderate to intense cardio exercise. Therefore, as much as being physically active is extremely important, watching what we consume also has an enormous importance to our health and well-being.
To sum up: for general health and longevity aim to stay physically active throughout each day (7000-10000 steps a day). Avoid sedentary lifestyle habits for too long, such as sitting in front of the desk (stand up for longer, go for a walk), watching TV for longer than 30mins-1hr, driving long distances. Also consider eating real whole foods. Whenever possible, buy organic, unprocessed foods, and cook from scratch.
“If you always put limits on everything you do, physical or anything else, it will spread into your work and into your life. There are no limits. There are only plateaus; and you must not stay there, you must go beyond them.”-Bruce Lee
For more detailed information and tips on specific exercises and nutritional advice, please refer to upcoming podcast episodes and articles.
“Your lifestyle choices today can change the world tomorrow, so why not change it for better?!”
Related Article: Do you eat to live or live to eat?
Dr Stefan Gospodinov DC (MChiro)