Every time I watch a sports event on TV recently, I become more and more conscious about inactivity. From the plush comfort of my arm chair, I’m reminded of those days long ago when I could run for hours on the soccer field, play basketball all day long at the local pickup court, or get banged around on the football field. And loved it.
But over the years, I packed on the pounds and ended up a diabetic (now a pre-diabetic, but that’s a story for another time). One health bullet I managed to dodge was smoking. I was always kind of proud of that–at least I didn’t have to worry about all those smoking-related diseases, right? Well, now there’s news that diabetic inactivity and smoking may have similarly negative impacts on my health.
So maybe I didn’t dodge a bullet after all. Is inactivity really as bad as smoking?
I found out that 80 percent of American adults do not meet the government’s activity recommendations for aerobic and muscle strengthening. Around 45 percent of adults are not sufficiently active to achieve health benefits, and one death in ten is caused by inactivity among victims of diseases associated with an inactive lifestyle, such as diabetes, heart disease and certain types of cancers.
According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), exercise rates for strengthening muscles (i.e. doing calisthenics or lifting weights) increase after the age of 18, and then slowly decline as we age. In all but one age group (65-74), males outpaced females in terms of amount of time spent exercising. Even in the age group that did the best (18-24), less than half the men got enough physical exercise, and fewer than one third of women did. The CDC recommends at least 150 minutes of moderate exercise for adults each week, and 60 minutes of physical exercise per day for children.
This information played a major role in motivating me to change my lifestyle.
It had been much to easy to sit all day in front of a computer and then drag my way home to an evening in front of the TV. Undoubtedly that is what helped set me up for diabetes. Sound familiar?
Inactivity…another word for lazy? Watching too much TV…a recipe for disaster?
One thing is clear for me: for those of us with diabetes, we simply cannot afford to rely on things like drugs and diet to fight our conditions. We have to move, too. We have to exercise.
Can the television industry survive a few hours without me? Of course it can. Can I survive without a few hours of TV? You bet your granny I can. The average TV viewer spends 5 hours and 4 minutes a day watching the boob tube.
My goal is to beat the national average by at least 2 hours. Are you in?