Health experts have long regarded and recommended exercise and physical activities to help people keep fit. Over the past 60 years or so, the health benefits of a physically active lifestyle have been the core of many studies and research. As early as in 1953, an article published in the medical journal ‘The Lancet’ revealed the link between physical activity and coronary heart disease. Of course, physical inactive could put people at higher risk of getting many other diseases, including cancer, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and Type-2 diabetes.
Recently, health experts reported on July 18, 2012 in ‘The Lancet’ that a third of the world’s adults are physical inactive and such lifestyle kills about 5 million people each year.
A person is said to be physical inactive, as defined in the study, when this person fails to do 30 minutes of moderate physical activity 5 times a week, 20 minutes of vigorous activity 3 times a week, or a combination of the 2. According to researchers’ findings, inactivity increases with age and is higher in women than in men, and is more commonly found in high-income countries.
Their findings also showed that about 3 out of 10 individuals aged 15 years or older (about 1.5 billion people) do not have the experts’ recommended amount of physical activity, and approximately 4 out of every 5 individuals aged between 13 and 15 years old are not moving enough.
In another study also published in ‘The Lancet’ on the same date, researchers argued that physical inactivity was a risk factor comparable to smoking or obesity. After comparing physical activity levels with population statistics on diseases such as diabetes, cancer and heart disease, they reported that physical inactive claimed more than 5.3 million people out of the 57 million deaths worldwide in 2008.
The study revealed that about 6 percent of coronary heart disease cases, 7 percent of Type-2 diabetes cases and 10 percent of breast and colon cancers cases were caused by a lack of exercise.
Based on a rather conservative estimation made by the researchers, a reduction of physical inactivity by 10 percent could reduce more than 500,000 deaths each year.
It is sad to say that people nowadays spend more time in cars and in front of computers instead of walking, running and cycling more. People really require exercise to help their bones, heart, muscles and other organs function optimally.
Perhaps, people should not spend too much time on sedentary activities. They could start exercising and slowly build up the frequency and duration in order to match the recommended guidelines.