Need another reason to start exercising? Not doing so may kill you.
Physical inactivity causes about 5.3 million premature deaths annually worldwide, according to a study being conducted at the Harvard Medical School. That’s one out of every 11 premature deaths. And that ranks laziness up there with smoking and being obese on the list of deadly health risks.
So, exercise isn’t helpful just for losing weight, improving endurance and making you look and feel stronger. Being physically active also can control blood pressure and blood sugar, lower bad cholesterol while raising good cholesterol, lower the risk of heart attacks and strokes, and decrease the threat of diabetes and some cancers.
In short, it can save your life.
That’s because conditioned bodies are much more effective at fighting off disease.
How to get started
Even people who are severely out of shape and inexperienced at exercise can begin a routine that will have immediate results. The U.S. government’s physical activity guidelines call for people to do at least 150 minutes of moderate intensity exercise each week.
For beginners, moderate intensity exercise could include cardiovascular activities such as brisk walking, riding a stationary bike or swimming. The key is to get your heart rate up and out of your comfort zone. For example, if you can walk briskly and still have a conversation with someone next to you without breathing heavy, you’re probably not working hard enough.
You also should consider some moderate intensity strength training, which could include working with free weights or weight machines or even doing some body weight exercises such as pushups, squats and sit-ups. You should work your muscles hard enough that they burn. The day after strength training, you should feel some soreness.
All exercise programs should include enough time for warming up before you begin and cooling down and stretching when you’re done.
In the Harvard study, researchers determined that if the level of physical inactivity in the world’s population decreased by just 10 percent, it could reduce the number of premature deaths by more than 500,000 annually.
Not only that, but people would carry less fat, have stronger muscles and bones, sleep better, work more efficiently, and get sick less frequently. In short, exercise helps people live happier, healthier and longer lives.
Frank Shelton is a certified fitness trainer and owner of The Village Gym. He can be reached at (302) 376-3060 or email@example.com.