Health

Why Are You Still Sitting There?

If we don't get up and move — we're going to lose it

Aging can be tough on a body and mind, but folks, we’re not doing ourselves any favors.

Roughly one in four Americans age 50 and older is not getting any exercise at all — and it is putting themselves at increased risk for heart disease, diabetes, and cancer, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Modern humans have been able to engineer most physical activity out of daily life. Humans now have a choice not to be physically active.

As many as 31 million Americans over 50 face an increased risk of disease because they’re inactive — and women, you’re more guilty of it than men, the numbers show.

Also at a higher risk for health problems are residents in the South, who rank as the least active (30.1 percent), followed by the Midwest (28.4 percent), the Northeast, (26.6 percent), and the West (23.1 percent). Colorado residents, you’re on the move and considered the most active, while Arkansas — you’ve got nothing to brag about. Your state appears to boast the largest number of couch potatoes.

Inactivity is not at all good for our health — so why are we still sitting around?

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“Physical activity, food, and reproduction are some of the minimal requirements for life. They evolved not as choices, but as requirements for individual and species survival,” said the researchers of a report called “Lack of exercise is a major cause of chronic diseases” done in 2012 by the National Institutes of Health and the U.S. National Library of Medicine.

Related: Exercise So Your Brain Won’t Shrink

However, the authors added, “Modern humans have been able to engineer most physical activity out of daily life. Humans now have a choice not to be physically active. Conclusive and overwhelming scientific evidence, largely ignored and prioritized as low, exists for physical inactivity as a primary and actual cause of most chronic diseases.”

[lz_bulleted_list title=”Why We Need to Move It, Move It” source=”http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov”]”Lack of physical activity affects almost every cell, organ, and system in the body, causing sedentary dysfunction and accelerated death. Just as food and reproduction are requirements for long-term continued human existence, physical activity is also a requirement to maximize health span and lifespan.”[/lz_bulleted_list]

A ridiculous amount of money — $860 billion — is spent every year in health care costs of non-institutionalized adults aged 50 and above due to chronic conditions that could have been prevented purely with physical activity, the CDC reported. People with chronic disease, not surprisingly, are more inactive (32 percent) than those who are not ill (19 percent).

Those of us who are younger aren’t doing all that much better.

Sure, you get a little time to chill. Everyone deserves some rest after a long day. But we’ve become a sedentary nation —  we sit all day at work, we sit to commute, we sit to grab a beer later on with family and friends, we sit to check our phones and our iPads, and then we sit to watch our favorite shows each night. After sitting all day long, the last thing we should be doing is coming home and sitting some more until we go to bed.

“Adults benefit from any amount of physical activity,” study co-author Janet Fulton said in a statement. Fulton is chief of the Physical Activity and Health branch at the CDC. “Helping inactive people become more physically active is an important step toward healthier and more vibrant communities.”

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A separate study published in August in the BMJ found that the more regular daily physical activity we get — whether that is through recreation, transportation, occupational activity, and/or daily chores — the lower our risk is for breast cancer, colon cancer, diabetes, ischemic heart disease, and ischemic stroke. Benefits were only gained by walking at least 150 minutes a week. But the more someone exercised beyond that, the more significant the reduction in risk.

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