Monday, August 4, 2008

Looking for a magic pill?

Physical activity is it. All the side effects are positive—and it treats the following (and more):

  • Moderate daily physical activity can reduce substantially the risk of developing or dying from cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, stroke, sleep apnea, respiratory problems, gallbladder disease and certain cancers, such as colon cancer. Daily physical activity helps to lower blood pressure and cholesterol, helps prevent or retard osteoporosis, and helps reduce obesity, symptoms of anxiety and depression, and symptoms of arthritis.

  • 37% of adults report they are not physically active. Only 3 in 10 adults get the recommended amount of physical activity.

  • Significant health benefits can be obtained by including a moderate amount of physical activity (e.g., 30 minutes of brisk walking or raking leaves, 15 minutes of running, 45 minutes of playing volleyball). Additional health benefits can be gained through greater amounts of physical activity.

  • Thirty to sixty minutes of activity can be broken into smaller segments of 10 or 15 minutes throughout the day and still deliver significant health benefits.
  • Adults 18 and older need 30 minutes of physical activity on five or more days a week to be healthy; children and teens need 60 minutes of activity a day for their health.

  • Heart disease is the leading cause of death among men and women in the United States. Physically inactive people are twice as likely to develop coronary heart disease as regularly active people.

  • 41 million Americans are estimated to have pre-diabetes. Most people with pre-diabetes develop type 2 diabetes within 10 years, unless they make changes to their diet and physical activity that results in a loss of about 5-7 percent of their body weight.

And, it’s free! It costs each of us nothing but a little time and a little effort. It doesn’t involve health insurance reimbursement, Medicare or Medicaid payments and requires no government involvement or funding.

It’s not magic—just common sense.

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