September 8, 2003
School is back. Schedules
are getting busier. Who has time to exercise?
"Activity that requires physical or mental exertion, especially
performed to develop or maintain fitness..."
"The Centers for Disease
Control and Prevention, believing earlier studies failed to accurately
measure Americans' fitness because they focused on intense exercise,
has lumped everyday activities such as housework and gardening with
jogging and lifting weights. But even with playing withchildren
and raking the lawn on the list of moderate-intensity activities,
the 2001 phone survey released Thursday showed that 55 percent of
adults still didn't get the recommended minimum: 30 minutes a day,
at least four days a week...."
This is a story that periodically
makes the headlines: Americans are not getting enough exercise.
Americans are not active enough.
We have heard the reports.
We know the consequences of inactivity (obesity, diabetes, heart
problems, etc...), but who has time to exercise? I know it's important.
I know it is something I need to do; I know it's good for my health,
but I'm too busy to make it to the gym or go for a three mile run
in the morning. On the other hand, it's not like I'm sitting still
all day. I'm busy: always on the go. Doesn't that count for something?
"There is good news
for all Americans. Scientific evidence shows that physical activity
done at a moderate-intensity level can produce health benefits (USDHHS,
1996). If people have been sedentary, they can improve their health
and well-being with regular, moderate levels of activity each day."
"Even moderate types
of exercise provide health benefits. For that reason, a state-based
survey, conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
(CDC) for the first time includes a broader definition of physical
activity. The survey provides a more comprehensive picture of Americans
daily lifestyles and includes physical activity measures such as
gardening, vacuuming, and brisk walking to do errands, in addition
to more traditional forms of exercise....'It is important for all
of us to remember that sedentary lifestyles increase our risk of
obesity, heart disease, hypertension, diabetes, and other chronic
diseases. The burden of these diseases can be reduced with a minimum
of 30 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity five or more
days a week,' said CDC Director Dr. Julie L. Gerberding."
All these recommendations
are for adults. We have heard enough reports by now to know that
kids and teens need to be active as well.
"There are currently
two widely accepted sets of developmentally appropriate recommendationsÜone
for adolescents, the other for elementary school-aged children.
They address how much and what kinds of physical activity young
people need. The International Consensus Conference on Physical
Activity Guidelines for Adolescents (Sallis et al., 1994) issued
the following recommendations:
* All adolescents should be physically active daily, or nearly every
day, as part of play, games, sports, work, transportation, recreation,
physical education, or planned exercise, in the context of family,
school, and community activities.
* Adolescents should engage in three or more sessions per week of
activities that last 20 minutes or more at a time and that require
moderate to vigorous levels of exertion."
But who has time? Kids
and teens are busy, just as adults are: Busy schedules and busy
lives. Multi-tasking is already the norm. What else can be done?
You don't have time to join the track team, or take up swimming.
You barely have time to finish your homework (and the school year
has only just begun!).
"...if you don't play
team sports, don't worry; there are plenty of ways to get aerobic
exercise on your own or with a few friends. Some awesome ways
to get aerobically fit include biking, running, aerobics, swimming,
dancing, in-line skating, cross-country skiing, hiking, and walking
quickly. In fact, types of exercise that you can do on your own
are easier to continue for years to come, so you can stay fit as
you get older."
While it may seem like
it takes a lot of time to go out of your way to exercise, think
of little things you like to do anyway, and try to add bits of exercise
into your daily routine. While it may not count for everything,
even fidgeting helps....
Thursday, January 7, 1999:
"New research from the Mayo Clinic, Minnesota, in which volunteers
were overfed for two months, showed that the people who piled on
the pounds did a lot less fidgeting than those whose weight stayed
stable....The key factor, said Dr James Levine, the lead author
of the study published in Science, was non-exercise activity
thermogenesis (Neat) or fidgeting. "Those people who had the
greatest increase in Neat gained the least fat, and vice versa."
Questions of the Week:
What are some "traditional" forms of exercise that you
enjoy? What is something that you are already doing "that requires
physical or mental exertion," but might not be considered "exercise"
to others? What are some creative ways that you can add light or
moderate exercise into your daily routine?
Please email me with any ideas or suggestions.
Note: Due to increasing amounts of SPAM sent to this account, please include "QOW" in the subject line when sending me email.
I look forward to reading
what you have to say.
Health Community Coordinator
Access Excellence @ the National Health Museum