When my wife and I moved to our current community with our four kids, we were excited to see great recreational interests with families walking, riding bikes, throwing ball at the park, etc… We have continued to observe and participate in such activities. Kudos to you who are leading your families enjoying the wonders of the outdoors. Your health and your family dynamics will continue to benefit from your proactivity!
Unfortunately, a sedentary lifestyle is becoming more and more prevalent amongst the greater whole. A new diagnosis labeled the “Sitting Disease” is becoming an epidemic of major proportion and consequence. The increasingly inactive lifestyles of adults and children alike are linked to obesity, diabetes, heart disease, certain cancers, and early death. The scientific research field of “inactivity physiology” correlates the association of illness with too much sitting.
In recent surveys, most average adults spend as much as 90 percent of their off-work leisure time sitting at a computer or on the couch! This is all the more astounding since most people sit long hours at a desk during standard workdays. Additionally, people who spent more than 4 hours a day watching a television or computer had twice the risk of a major cardiovascular event causing hospitalization, death, or both. This is the result when hobbies of computer games, smartphone surfing, and television watching become the norm.
Other research has shown that people who sit for more than 11 hours had a 40 percent higher risk of dying within 3 years from ANY cause compared with people who sit for fewer than 4 hours a day. This statistic is even more humbling since it is regardless of how much time is spent exercising the rest of the time.
As an extra motivation, we are challenged in Scripture to take care of our physical bodies because that is where the Holy Spirit resides (First Corinthians 6:19-20).
Activity breaks for as little as one minute at a time such as stretching, walking, jogging in place, or performing calisthenics have resulted in smaller waistlines, decreased inflammatory markers throughout the body, and improved cholesterol and sugar levels.
Park at the far end of the grocery store parking lot—you’ve just added a few hundred steps to your day! Take the stairs—you’ve just burned on average 15 calories per flight of stairs! Stand and pace while talking on the phone! Be creative and think of unconventional ways to add movement to your day without adding time to your already busy lifestyle. No matter how you do it, get up and move!
Dr. Daniel Melville is a board-certified family physician practicing at Destination Health in Southlake, TX. Destination Health is a concierge medical practice focusing on preventive, proactive, and optimal health care