We talk a lot about working out and living a fitness lifestyle. Other than looking good and feeling healthy, how important is exercise?

Not exercising can lead to premature death. That is important.

The World Health Organization reports people who are not sufficiently active have a 20% to 30% greater risk of premature death. Physical activity is a leading risk factor for an increase in global mortality.


It is an amazing thing a lack of physical activity can shave years off your life.  We know about cigarette smoking. Smoking can reduce your lifespan by 10 years. Obesity can lead to heart disease and take years off your life.

Not enough physical activity or exercise can shorten your lifespan by years. It can also change the quality of your lifestyle. People who are active and physically fit tend to be more active in other part of their lives.

At a minimum, adults should do at least 150 minutes of moderate activity or 75 minutes of vigorous intensity activity per week.  That is 2 ½ hours of moderate activity a week. A schedule of a half hour per day 5 days a week would satisfy the requirement.

It does not seem that hard. A brisk, half-hour walk would qualify as moderate. So would a bike ride or mowing the lawn.  A good hike or basketball game would be vigorous. The fitness industry has grown by leaps and bounds over the years. There are more than 34,000 fitness centers in America.

The COVID-19 pandemic has put another challenge in front of people. Exercise is an essential part of maintaining a solid immune system. The better your immune system the more resistant you are to viruses like COVID-19. If you do catch the virus your treatment is greatly helped by being fit and healthy.

Anything easy to do is also easy not to do.  Most anyone can step outside their front door and go for a walk. It is not hard to do. It must be done with intention, however. A person must choose to go for a walk. For people who are inactive, walking hurts. It can hurt knees, backs, and feet. For some it is not easy to do.

Nearly 30% of Americans are inactive. That is nearly 100 million people!! Do people know being inactive can kill you years sooner?

Those of us who are active need to talk to friends and family who are inactive and spread the word. We need to tell them how important activity is. We need to encourage people to become active. As we age, physical activity is essential to our quality of life.

It is not just about looking good or fitting into our clothes. It is a matter of life and death.

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