Regular exercise may be far more important for our physical and mental health than we realize. It’s not just about looking good. Regular physical activity reduces the risk of dying from cancer, heart disease and diabetes. Moreover, exercise has been shown to boost brainpower, reduce symptoms of depression and anxiety and enhance the immune system. In fact, according to a study, people who walk to work are 40% less likely to have diabetes as those who drive to work. A Danish study showed that walking or biking to school improves concentration in students.
The benefits of exercise abound. However, it’s important to keep in mind that sustained bouts of exercise alone may not be enough. In fact, the health advantages of going to the gym for an hour in the morning may be cancelled out by sitting at a desk for the next eight hours. Our bodies were built to move so it comes as no surprise that prolonged sitting is a health hazard. Being active throughout the day is what counts:
Regular prolonged movement — at whatever intensity level can be safely managed — should be built into everyone’s daily habits and physical environment.
Think of the many ways you can embed more movement into your day throughout the day: Take the stairs, get off the subway or the bus a stop early, get a dog, instead of ordering in pick up lunch, etc. Once you start paying attention, you recognize that opportunities to move more are everywhere.
The human body has two ends on it: one to create with and one to sit on. Sometimes people get their ends reversed. When this happens they need a kick in the seat of their pants.