Lack of Exercise More Harmful Than Smoking?

A new report published in the Lancet today, 18 July, has concluded that a lack of exercise is now causing as many deaths across the world  as smoking.  The team of researchers was drawn from centres across the world.   They concluded that about one third of adults are not getting enough exercise and this causes about 5.3m deaths a year.

Dr I-Min Lee who co-authored the report said that “Being inactive increases your risk of developing chronic diseases”, these include heart disease, Type 2 diabetes, stroke and certain types of cancer.  This does not mean that it is ok to smoke as long as you exercise.  It is important to maintain a healthy lifestyle by not smoking, eating a balanced diet, maintaining a healthy weight and taking exercise.

So how much is enough exercise?   The Report recommends that adults do 150 minutes of moderate exercise a week.  You don’t have to do this all in one session, in fact it’s better to spread it over the week in manageable amounts. And you don’t have to go to the gym, you could try brisk walking, cycling or gardening.  It’s whatever would fit into your daily routine.

Start off by setting yourself a target for the week that you know you can achieve and then schedule the time into your diary.  Next remove any obstacles to you achieving your target.  Get the trainers and the gym kit out of the wardrobe and leave them somewhere handy.  You want to get into the habit of taking exercise so that it just becomes part of what you do.

Finally make a commitment to yourself or, even better, to someone else that you are going to do this.  Remember physical activity improves your physical, emotional and mental health.