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Dave Weller
health promotion/wellness consultant
San Jose, California

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Exercise! Pay Attention, Businesses

Americans are overweight. Exercise is one way to fight that epidemic, and business needs to help.
Written Apr 23, 2009, read 1031 times since then.
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Let's face the facts: the majority of Americans are overweight or obese.  Rather than examine the downside of this problem, take a look at the amazing list of benefits that accrue from getting active for a relatively short time on several days (or more) of the week.

  • Folks who exercise regularly (as simple as taking a vigorous walk) benefit from a lower risk of early death
  • Folks who exercise regularly have a lower risk of developing heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes and several other related conditions
  • Folks who exercise regularly have a much better chance of maintaining an appropriate weight (BMI, or body mass index, is an easy way to figure your weight category if you know your weight and height.  Here are several websites to assist you in determining if your BMI is in the "normal" category-

           www.nhlbisupport.com/bmi

           www.cdc.gov/healthyweight/assessing/bmi

           www.consumer.gov/weightloss/bmi.htm

  • Folks who exercise regularly have a lower risk of developing certain cancers, e.g., cancers of the colon and breast
  • Folks who exercise regularly have stronger bones, thus possibly avoiding osteoporosis (bone loss)
  • Folks who exercise regularly are less likely to be depressed

Wow!  Convinced yet?  Here are some ways to almost ensure that you'll get outside, get some sun (vitamin D!), and that all-important exercise:

Do something you enjoy!  Gardening?  Walking/strolling/running?  Jumping rope?  Biking?  Kayaking?  Whatever it is, you're more likely to keep it up if it's an activity you enjoy, rather than one you suffer through.

Get with a group of people who enjoy the same activity!  That builds friendships and community.

If your community is not safe to exercise in, contact city hall!  Make sure that they are aware of this problem.  Government at all levels is paying closer attention to this problem, and the problem of fat Americans, these days.  They are already sensitive to it, so let them know.

Business is paying more attention to this issue these days, as well.  Currently, chronic diseases are the major causes of illness and death in America.  This translates to employees who aren't coming to work, increased expenses to businesses to replace sick employees and train replacement workers, lost productivity, and continuing escalation in health insurance premiums.

Just about anyone can get away from the cubicle for several minutes (at least 30, over the course of the day), and walk around, or take a few minutes to walk up and down the stairs.  Want to know how far you've gone? Get a good pedometere that measures distance, not just steps taken.

Here are some recommendations related to your exercise from the Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, U.S. Department of Health & Human Services:

  1. Start by doing what you can, and then look for ways to do more,
  2. Walking is one way to add physical activity to your life,
  3. Add more time and days,
  4. Pick up the pace. 

Here's what they say about how much physical activity we need to do each week:

  1. In the aerobic category, adults should get at least 2 hours and 30 minutes each week of physical activity that requires moderate effort, and you need to do this activity for at least 10 minutes at a time,
  2. In the strengthening category, adults should also do strengthening activities at least 2 days a week, which might include push-ups, sit-ups and lifting weights.

 

Learn more about the author, Dave Weller.

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