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Being physically active is vital for people of all ages to maintain a healthy body and mind. Unfortunately, the lack of physical activity in the US is pervasive and wide-reaching and a great number of the population is sedentary. Do you know how much exercise you need? Read on to learn more about the dangers of sedentarism and the physical activity guidelines recommended by the Department of Health and Human Services to keep your body thriving.

The Dangers of Sedentarism

“Sedentarism” refers to a lifestyle characterized by a significant amount of sitting or physical inactivity. People who lead sedentary lifestyles typically engage in minimal physical activity, such as sitting at a desk for long periods, using computers, watching television, or engaging in other activities that involve little or no movement.

A sedentary lifestyle is often associated with various health risks, including obesity, cardiovascular diseases, and musculoskeletal issues. Regular physical activity is important for maintaining overall health and well-being. Health experts recommend incorporating regular exercise into daily routines to counteract the negative effects of sedentarism. This can include activities such as walking, jogging, cycling, or participating in sports.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), most people spend most of their day being physically inactive. They spend eight hours of their day at their jobs sitting down, followed by more sitting at home in front of the TV, computer, or video game, before going to sleep. What’s even scarier is that 33% of adolescents spend 3 or more hours watching TV or playing with their phones or video games. This translates into future generations being even more sedentary and with many more physical and emotional ailments.

The data reports that too many people spend too many hours sitting and do not get enough exercise. Regrettably, this terrible inactivity is an after-effect of our modern society. People spend most of their waking hours sitting. Now the majority of the workforce spends most of their time at a desk; very few occupations require people to stay active throughout the day as they used to be decades ago. Not only that but our recreational activities tend to keep us inactive as well.

Dr. Mercola, a renowned osteopathic physician, and New York Times bestselling author has recognized the dangers of our current trend. It seems that disease processes follow long hours of sitting, even if you exercise. This is what studies show:

  • Sitting for hours increases toxic buildup and interferes with muscular and cellular systems.
  • Hours of continuous sitting raise blood pressure, blood sugar, triglycerides, and cholesterol levels.
  • Lack of physical activity doesn’t allow the body to produce the necessary mechanical stimulation of the tissues to turn the cells into fat-free mass cells, instead of fat mass cells.
  • Sitting increases your risk of death from virtually all health problems, such as cancer, cardiovascular disease by 147%, type 2 diabetes by 91%, and all-cause mortality by 22%.

How Much Exercise Do You Need? 

Reducing sedentary behavior and adopting a more active lifestyle is essential for promoting physical health and mental well-being, and preventing various health problems associated with a lack of physical activity. You are probably aware of the importance of being active and having a regular exercise routine. But are you meeting the Physical Activity Guidelines to maintain good health?

The US Department of Health and Human Services has established the minimum activity requirements that can help keep your body healthy. The following are the Physical Activity Guidelines:

  • Adults should engage in aerobic activity of moderate intensity for at least 150 minutes a week  – that is 5 x 30-minute sessions of moderate cardio per week
  • Or aerobic activity of vigorous intensity for 75 minutes a week  – that’s 3 x 20-five minute sessions of intense cardio
  • Plus, 2 days of muscle strengthening a week
  • Children and adolescents should be physically engaged for at least 60 minutes a day, aerobically for at least 3 days a week as well as for muscle strengthening activities.

Despite government Physical Activity Guidelines, it is sad to report that the stats related to our current state are alarming and the picture gets even scarier concerning our youngsters. Here is the latest CDC report:

  • Only 20 percent of adults meet the aerobic and muscle-strengthening guidelines.
  • Only 8 percent of youth ages 12–19 meet the aerobic and muscle-strengthening guidelines.
  • 42 percent of children ages 6–12 (49% of boys versus 35% of girls) are getting at least 60 minutes of physical activity per day. This is the most active age group but not even half of them meet the recommended physical activity guidelines.

Remember, being sedentary not only contributes to overweight states but correlates with diseased states. Try to stay consistent with exercise because physical activity is not optional – it’s a must for the human body. Exercise not only helps you lose body fat and stay fit, but working out improves your mood and your self-esteem, and keeps your internal systems functioning properly. If you are not being as active as you should, do yourself and your loved ones a favor: follow the physical activity guidelines. Your body and mind will thank you!

To a Fitter Healthier You,

Adriana Albritton

The Fitness Wellness Mentor

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