You Can’t Run From Your Problems, But You May Live Longer If You Run
By: Joy Stephenson-Laws, J.D., Founder
How many hours would you say you work per week? And then if you have a desk job or a job that involves hours of sitting (such as trucking), as many Americans do, how many hours do you sit per week? Don’t forget to include that time spent on the couch watching your favorite TV shows! And don't forget to include the hours you sit each week as a result of your job commute.
I’ll cut straight to the chase. Most Americans are simply sitting too much and not participating in much physical activity. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), only one in four U.S. adults and one in five high school students meet the recommended physical activity guidelines.
A lack of adequate physical activity increases the risk of developing health issues such as heart disease, diabetes, hypertension, cancer, depression and more.
To give you an idea of how much we should be moving, the guidelines state that adults should try to do at least 150 minutes (two hours and 30 minutes) to 300 minutes (five hours) of aerobic activity per week. (If you are pregnant or have existing health issues, it is recommended to seek the advice of a competent healthcare professional regarding how much exercise you should do).
Many Americans may look at these guidelines and say: I just don’t have the time. My response? Make the time. Our health is our greatest wealth!
But before you get caught up in meeting the requirements or take on an all or nothing approach, know that just doing any amount of exercise per week may make a world of difference.
Take, for example, a new study published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine. Researchers examined 232,149 people over a time period of five and a half years to 35 years. They found that people who ran just once a week (or as little as 50 minutes a week) overall appeared to have a 27 percent lower risk of mortality.
In addition to this, just doing this small amount of running per week was associated with a 30 percent lower risk of cardiovascular death and a 23 percent lower risk of cancer death.
“Any amount of running, even just once a week, is better than no running, but higher doses of running may not necessarily be associated with greater mortality benefits,” according to the study report.
(Physical activity is not only good for our physical health. As I’ve previously blogged about, just one hour of exercise per week may help keep depression away).
This doesn’t mean that you should not try to do the recommended amounts of exercise in the physical activity guidelines. But it does mean that we should acknowledge that small amounts of exercise can still be very beneficial to our health.
I hope people find this information motivating. It’s so easy to get discouraged when we get busy and fail to make time to be active. But knowing that just 50 minutes of running per week may help us healthier and live longer certainly puts things into perspective in my opinion.
I try and make the time to include physical activity in my daily routine. It's not always easy and sometimes making the time means waking up a bit earlier or not watching my favorite TV shows. Taking time for yourself and your health to include some physical activity is really mandatory. And this physical activity requirement is especially important to keep in mind during the upcoming holiday season.
Not much of a runner?
That’s okay too!
Another recent study found evidence which suggested that “people who walked or gardened 10 minutes to an hour each week had an 18-percent lower risk of death from any cause compared to full-on couch potatoes,” according to one report discussing the study.
(Not surprisingly, hiking with my dogs and gardening are also two of my favorite activities!).
The main takeaway is to just get moving, and fit it in when you can. Find something you enjoy doing, whether it’s swimming or playing golf. And don’t forget the importance of strength training.
Finally, don’t forget nutrition!
Working out is great for your mind and body, but remember that you need the proper intake of nutrients to perform physical activity and recover afterwards. Read here to learn more about how to properly fuel your body for physical fitness. And read here for three nutrients women may specifically need when they exercise.
Read here to get an idea of how much exercise may be appropriate for you according to your age.
It is also very important to take routine nutrient tests in order to identify if you have any nutrient imbalances or deficiencies. If you do, a competent healthcare professional can work with you on making the necessary dietary changes and recommend quality supplements if necessary.
Finally, if you are working out hard and want to recover quickly, give your muscles some extra TLC by trying whole body cryotherapy or local cryotherapy.
Our health is our greatest wealth.
Enjoy your healthy life!
The pH professional health care team includes recognized experts from a variety of health care and related disciplines, including physicians, attorneys, nutritionists, nurses and certified fitness instructors. This team also includes the members of the pH Medical Advisory Board, which constantly monitors all pH programs, products and services. To learn more about the pH Medical Advisory Board, click here.