Exciting news! There is a medicine available to you that will help you treat or avoid getting all of the following medical conditions:
- Heart disease
- Colon cancer
- Breast cancer
- The common cold
- Early death
(Believe it or not, the list is actually much longer but we ran out of space!)
You are probably saying, “Wow, this must be one really expensive drug to do all that.” While a drug company would love to be able to sell you a pill that could treat all the things on the list they can’t. Why? Because no such a pill does exists. Instead, the medicine that can treat all these medical conditions is physical activity.
Given the enormous health benefits, it is amazing that only 1 in 5 adults in the US get the minimum recommended amount of physical activity. In fact, there is an epidemic of inactivity (sitting disease) in the US.
The good news is that we don’t need to do hours a day of exercise to get the benefits of physical activity. Similar to some medicines, there is a dose response to doing physical activity. By just doing a little physical activity and avoiding prolonged periods of sitting results in a whole lot of health benefits. A greater dose of physical activity (such as exercise) will result in even more health benefits. By exercising regularly and being physical active throughout the day is the way to get the optimal dose of physical activity medicine.
Ideally, we would all get, at least, the recommended minimum amount of 150 minutes of moderate intensity exercise each week. Regardless of whether or not we are regular exercisers, most of us would benefit from increasing the amount of physical activity that we are doing throughout our day. Even for exercisers, there are real health benefits that come from getting up and moving around for as little as 10 minutes at a time.
Some ideas for increasing daily physical activity:
- Find the parking space at the furthest point from the entrance.
- Take the stairs instead of elevator.
- Start a garden.
- Walk around the house during each commercial break.
- Go talk to a co-worker instead of sending an email.
- Take a 10 minute walk before, during and after work.
- Instead of a sit down visit with a friend go for a walk.
With just a little bit of thought it easy for most of us to find ways to get more physical activity in our daily routine. Give it some thought and get moving. No excuses! Your health depends on it.
Patrick Savage, MS, is a Senior Exercise Physiologist in Cardiac Rehabilitation at the University of Vermont Medical Center.