In today’s society it is easy to find ourselves doing more sitting during the day than we should. Our tendency to be sedentary has increased, with many people working office jobs, long hours, increasing home responsibilities, and the advances in technology that allow us to do things at the touch of a finger.
According to the CDC, 51.7% of adults 18 years and older met the guidelines for aerobic physical activity and only 21.7% of adults 18 years and older met the guidelines for both aerobic exercise and strength.1
A sedentary lifestyle has been linked to the development of numerous health concerns, including heart disease, Type II Diabetes, hypertension, and obesity. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has determined that even some exercise is better than none to help lead healthier lifestyles and fight against modifiable risk factors that can contribute to the onset of these conditions.
“People gain health benefits from as little as 60 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity per week. For major health benefits, do at least 150 minutes (2 hours and 30 minutes) of moderate-intensity aerobic activity or 75 minutes (1 hour and 15 minutes) of vigorous-intensity aerobic activity each week. Another option is to do a combination of both. A general rule is that 2 minutes of moderate-intensity activity counts the same as 1 minute of vigorous-intensity activity. ”
Even older adults are recommended to be more active, and can benefit from following the guidelines for adults if possible. It is recommended that children be active daily doing a variety of activities for 60 minutes.2
Beyond the physical benefits, research has indicated that regular exercise can also contribute to mental wellness, helping with stress management, anxiety, and depression.3 Furthermore, regular exercise has been indicated to be a potentially effective approach for pain management, for both acute and chronic complaints.
Neck pain and low back pain are two of the most common complaints. J. Kool et al. found that exercise as part of a multi-disciplinary approach or solo treatment approach for nonspecific, non-acute, low back pain helped reduce the number of sick days associated with this condition.4 According to Bertozzi et al., therapeutic exercise was determined to be effective in managing pain for individuals with chronic nonspecific neck pain in both short term (<1 month) and intermediate term (1-6 months) effects.5
It is never too late to get moving. Regular exercise is not only an important factor in preventative action against developing conditions that affect the quality of life, but can be the beginning of leading a healthier life. So, whether you choose to sign up for your first 5K run, your 10th marathon, try yoga or a boot camp class, choose to do something. A little bit goes a long way, affecting both the physical and mental aspects of wellbeing. Start small and go from there.