Unfortunately, one in every four adult Americans is completely sedentary. Another one-half are fairly inactive and would greatly benefit from more physical activity. Why are so few Americans physically active? One reason suggested is that there has been an overemphasis on high-intensity exercise. Many people believe that health benefits are achieved only through vigorous exercise.
Moderately Intense Activities
Steven Blair of the Institute for Aerobics Research in Dallas has now shown that regular moderate-intensity physical activity provides substantial health benefits. For example, moderate-intensity exercise can reduce blood pressure in mild to moderate hypertensives by as much as that achieved by high-intensity exercise. This is a real boon for people (especially the elderly) who have trouble performing intensive exercise.
No longer should we panic trying to find a high-intensity exercise to engage in. Furthermore, the exercise doesn’t have to be continuous. It can be broken into two or three sessions. It has been found that moderately intense activities spread throughout the day will provide measurable health benefits. The American College of Sports Medicine recently published the recommendation that “every American adult should accumulate 30 minutes or more of moderate-intensity physical activity over the course of most days of the week.”
This means that we should incorporate more activities into our daily routines, such as walking part or all the way to or from work. The one-half hour of physical activity may also include cycling, swimming, jogging, tennis, shoveling snow, aerobics, gardening, or a brisk two-mile walk every day. For many troubled by cold and ice, an exercise bike or Nordic Track can provide the needed exercise in the safety of their home.
Physical activity plays an important role in the health of children. On average, the physical activity of children nationwide is decreasing. Overall, youth fitness is on the decline. The President’s Council on Physical Fitness and Sports found that teenagers run the mile slower. It found that they also perform fewer pull-ups than a decade ago. Studies of young children suggest that low physical activity is a primary factor contributing to excessive fat accumulation. This can be a precursor to adult obesity.
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Winston J. Craig writes from Michigan.© 2002 - 2023, AnswersForMe.org. All rights reserved. Click here for content usage information.