By Ken Reed

As a society, we keep finding new ways to avoid physical movement. And it’s slowly killing us.

A sedentary lifestyle (dubbed by some health experts as Sedentary Death Syndrome) is equivalent to having a major disease. The cure? Not an expensive pharmaceutical. But inexpensive cardiovascular exercise. The research is straightforward: The more people exercise the more their mortality rates drop.

According to the American Heart Association’s Laura Williamson, “staying active benefits health in myriad ways – including lowering the risk for heart attacks, strokes, dementia and several types of cancer, boosting mental health and potentially reversing Type 2 diabetes.”

“In fact, there are very few outcomes that being physically active does not improve,” says Dr. Bethany Gibbs, chair of the department of epidemiology and biostatistics at West Virginia University.

Today, we’re moving much less than we did 100, 50 and even 25 years ago. The reason? Modern society doesn’t require us to move very much anymore.

“We have engineered physical activity out of our lives,” Gibbs said. “You can do all your shopping online, order your food online. If you wanted to spend all day not moving, you could do it.” In decades past, “there was a lot more activity involved in keeping yourself alive. People were looking for ways to do less. Now, physical activity is something you need to add back into your life.”

Take a look at the typical drive-thru line at a Starbucks, or any fast food restaurant. People will often choose to sit in their cars and wait in the drive-thru line for 20 minutes, or more, instead of parking, walking in, ordering, and walking back out to their car in under five minutes.

As a society, we need to do some reengineering in order to incorporate more movement in our lives.

As human beings, at a basic level, we’re all athletes. And as athletes we need to move on a regular basis.

Ken Reed, Sports Policy Director, League of Fans


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