If regular physical activity benefits the body, then it goes without saying that an inactive lifestyle does the complete opposite, thereby increasing the chances of becoming overweight and developing various chronic diseases. According to studies conducted by a team from the Centres for Disease Control (CDC) and Prevention, inactivity is closely associated with approximately 9 million cases of cardiovascular disease each year. Further studies have concluded that individuals who spend more time each day sitting and watching television, or riding in vehicles have a greater chance of dying prematurely compared to individuals who spend more time upright and active. Researchers consider that sitting for extended periods of time may alter an individual's metabolism in ways that promote sleep disorders, anxiety and depression, diabetes, obesity, heart disease, and other chronic conditions.
It seems that being a couch potato may even be damaging for individuals who participate in regular physical exercise. A recent Nurse's Health Study, being just one of numerous studies conducted to try and find a strong association between watching television and obesity, followed more than 50 thousand middle aged women for six years documenting their daily diet and activity. The conclusion was that for every two hours the women spent watching television each day, they had a 14 percent higher risk of developing diabetes, and a 23 percent higher risk of becoming obese. The study also revealed that it made no difference that some of the women were enthusiastic exercisers. This study highlighted the fact that the more television these women watched, the more likely they were to develop diabetes or gain weight. So basically, while regular physical activity is essential to gaining the required physical fitness, be very conscience of extended periods spent sitting as this also increases the risk of diabetes and obesity.
The physical activity guidelines we often see posted at healthy establishments are general suggestions aimed at the general population to encourage more participation in becoming active. The problem with guidelines is that they attempt to cover as many individuals as possible, in other words, they are not an accurate measure of activity for anyone in particular. How much physical activity or exercise you need depends on how fit you are currently, your diet, your current muscle to fat ratio, your genes, and your capability for exercise. If you are looking to evade middle aged spread, then adequate physical activity is as vital as monitoring your diet. There is no hard and fast rule as to how much regular physical activity you will require to maintain a healthy weight. Many healthy individuals seem to require at least 2.5 hours of moderate intensity activity a week to maintain a stable weight. If you are looking to remove a few kilos, then slightly increase to 3.5 hours per week, but do not cheat yourself of even one minute!
A study conducted of more than 7 thousand men revealed that older individuals, those who are unfit, or those with disabilities can gain as much benefit from 30 minutes of slow paced walking or other low impact exercises, as younger fitness fanatics gain from the same 30 minutes of high intensity activity. It just goes to show that if an exercise routine feels tough, then it is most certainly doing your body a huge advantage even though it may not fall into the moderate intensity category. If you are currently inactive or unfit, the thought may be overwhelming to start out with 30 minutes a day of physical activity for five days a week. Try beginning with a shorter, less intense session of activity, and then gradually increase this over time until you have reached or exceeded the goal. This begin slowly method and build up over time advice for regular physical activity applies to everyone, but is especially true for older individuals as beginning slowly may assist in avoiding the risk of injury.
Do not fall into the trap of cheating yourself from gaining a good workout session, over time as your body adapts to the exercise routine, you will need to increase the intensity or time spent doing the routine to gain the same beneficial cardiovascular workout. Many individuals begin with focussing too much on counting rather than their form when exercising, this is just another way to cheat yourself, if you are just doing 20 of this and 20 of that and not concentrating on performing the movement correctly, then you are just creating wind. If you are going to spend 30 minutes of exercising, then make every minute count, it is for your benefit! Please be aware that your 2.5 hours of activity should be in addition to the light activity that is part of everyday living, but any moderate to vigorous everyday lifestyle activity can certainly count toward your weekly total if the activity is sustained for at least 10 minutes or more.
Regular physical activity or regular exercise is one of those rare things where the hype actually meets reality. Getting regular physical activity is arguably the most excellent action you can do for enhancing your health. Any measure of physical activity is better than none, although the more you get, the better the advantage. Always keep in the back of your mind that sitting for long periods of time is detrimental to your health, so get upright and look for solutions to reducing the amount of time that you sit!