Physical inactivity is a fast-growing public health problem and contributes to a variety of chronic diseases, including obesity, diabetes and cancer. Even with all the benefits of exercising, the levels of inactivity are alarming. Some call it an “inactivity epidemic.”
According to Robert E. Sallis, M.D., patients who exercise are healthier and far less likely to suffer from chronic diseases than patients who don’t exercise. If they do develop a chronic disease, they tend to need much less medication to control it. Exercise, which he prescribes to virtually every patient, truly is the best medicine.
Physical activity guidelines are clear and easy to incorporate: move more and more often. Start with bouts of 10 minutes three times a day for five days a week if time is a challenge. Low-impact exercises such as walking and swimming are good options for beginners. A key to sticking with a fitness program is making sure it’s enjoyable.
Some fun new programs are low-impact dance-based workouts designed specifically for beginners and seniors. Workout routines combine salsa, flamenco and cumbia moves with fun music. For those who prefer to work out in the comfort of their own homes, exercise DVD collections are also available.
Though getting to the gym every day or even making use of those DVDs at home on a daily basis may not be feasible for everyone, that doesn’t mean people still can’t find ways to incorporate a little exercise into their daily routines. Simple tips include taking the stairs instead of an elevator or parking far away when shopping. It’s tempting to hunt for the parking spot closest to the door, but for those who want to include more exercise in their routines, parking away from the entrance to a store is a great way to incorporate more walking. Walking is a simple, inexpensive yet effective cardiovascular exercise, one that the Mayo Clinic notes can lower blood pressure and manage weight. In fact, research has indicated that regular walking can be just as effective at lowering a person’s risk of heart attack as more vigorous exercise.
Many adults find they simply don’t have the time to commit to routine exercise. But there are many simple ways to incorporate a workout into an existing routine without taking time from an already busy day.