A lack of exercise is as dangerous as smoking and is directly to blame for one in six deaths in Britain, a report has warned. I read this news earlier today, shortly after finishing the 10 mile Great South Run on it’s 25th Anniversary.
Officials from Public Health England have warned that our sedentary lifestyles lived by many Britons are not only causing obesity, but they are directly responsible for a vast range of illnesses.
Half of women and a third of men are moving so little in their daily lives that they are exposing themselves to diseases ever earlier in life, making the UK even worse than America for inactivity.
63 per cent of adults do not take the recommended amount of exercise of two and a half hours over the course of a week. Crazy stuff when you consider that equates to just over 20 minutes per day.
Is TV Killing Us?
I know that thought might appear a little extreme, but experts say our preference for watching television instead of being outdoors is to blame.
Demanding office jobs are also mentioned as a cause, alongside less time being spent on the housework and DIY.
Professor Kevin Fenton, executive director of health and wellbeing at Public Health England, the agency responsible for tackling obesity, said: “Physical inactivity is unrecognised as a significant health, social and economic burden on individuals and communities in England.”
“It is a leading contributor to rising levels of many long-term conditions such as obesity, diabetes and dementia. Our modern lifestyles amplify the problem, with even those who are already taking regular physical activity at risk of damaging their health by spending long periods sitting down.”
“If physical activity was a drug we’d be hailing it as a miracle cure”
“We need to make physical activity the easy, accessible and natural choice for everyone. If physical activity was a drug we’d be hailing it as a miracle cure. Our living environment and working environment has changed over the past four decades and it’s all dragging us to be inactive.”
Forget Exercise, It’s Playtime
Have you ever watched a toddler? From my experience they want to be active, getting everywhere as quickly as they possibly can, trying run before they master the art of walking. Until we teach them about exercise, kids get their activity as “playtime”.
Somewhere in our lives many of us seem to lose this natural desire to be active and once we become sedentary it is hard to reverse. I think part of the problem is that we are TOLD to EXERCISE.
I don’t think anybody likes being told what to do and the word exercise is rarely associated with pleasure. Exercise is pain, punishing our bodies to try and get rid of fat we’ve gained by feeding ourselves crap.
Not so long ago, that was me. Eating crap, sitting on the sofa and watching TV. I was perhaps the least active person I knew.
By changing what I was putting in my body I slowly changed my outlook on life. Firstly I changed the way I fed my body, then over time the way I fed my mind. I reached a point where I was bursting with energy and needed to find a way to use it.
Did I start exercising? Well I guess I should say yes, but after a short period where it was difficult and uncomfortable I rapidly found I enjoyed it. Suddenly I didn’t look at it as exercising, but rather my personal ‘playtime’.
Lack of exercise can lead to multiple illnesses including depression, heart disease and dementia.
Like I said above, I used to view exercise as punishment for eating crap. Now I view it as a celebration of my health. That doesn’t mean it is always easy. There are often points in races like the one I ran this morning where I feel I want to quit, but I never do. The sense of achievement crossing the line always reminds me how we can each take control of own health and makes me extremely grateful to have been given a second chance at life.
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