Posted on January 04 2019
Americans spend about 10 hours a day participating in sedentary activities, from sitting at a computer to watching television to driving, the U.S. Census Bureau reports. All that couch time is widely seen as a great health threat — one recent study published in the Archives of Internal Medicine even linked sitting to a higher risk of all-cause mortality. (The more hours per day you spend sitting, the worse your health outlook, the study reported.) Numerous studies have found a correlation between sitting and cancer risk, diabetes, heart disease, and more chronic conditions.
“I would argue that physical inactivity is the root cause of many of the common problems that we have,” Joyner says in a release. “If we were to medicalize it, we could then develop a way, just like we’ve done for addiction, cigarettes and other things, to give people treatments, and lifelong treatments, that focus on behavioral modifications and physical activity. And then we can take public health measures, like we did for smoking, drunken driving and other things, to limit physical inactivity and promote physical activity.”
Although physical activity does raise risk of obesity, Joyner points out in his commentary that it also affects people of normal weight, including people who work desk jobs and people who are temporarily immbolized because of health conditions. Once not moving becomes a habit, it can be tough to get going again — sedentary people often experience dizziness, exhaustion, discomfort, and more obstacles that make adopting a regular exercise routine difficult.
To combat this, Joyner recommends doctors prescribe a slow and progressive approach to fitness, which includes simple ways to sneak in calorie-burning activities throughout each person's day.
“You just don’t jump right back into it and try to train for a marathon,” Joyner advises. “Start off with achievable goals and do it in small bites.” Here are more ways to start your fitness plan:
- Set an attainable goal."Losing 50 pounds" shouldn't be your goal from the get-go. Instead, break it off in bite-sized chunks, such as aiming to take three 10-minute walks each day and working up from there.
- Choose the right setting.The gym doesn't have to be for everyone. You can bake activity into your day anywhere, so find some regular calorie-burning routines that you're comfortable with, such as housework, gardening, walking, or at-home exercise DVDs.
- Get the right gear.Walking is one of the best forms of exercise there is — studies have linked it to a lower disease risk, lower risk of obesity, and more — and to do it right, all you need is a good pair of shoes. No matter which exercise you're interested in trying, make sure you have something supportive and comfortable to wear.
- Put your exercise routine in writing.Whether your plan will include trips to the gym, at-home workouts, or simply moving more, write down your daily goals to keep yourself accountable.
- Find some positive peer pressure.One of the best ways to move more is to have a buddy to exercise with. If you have the same fitness goals, you can even sit down and plan a routine together.