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The High Cost of Inactivity
By Dr. Winston Craig

            There is a high price tag to pay for being a couch potato. The lack of exercise can adversely affect the function of the brain, heart, blood vessels, bones, liver, and the intestinal tract. An inactive person is more likely to suffer from anxiety and depression, and find stress harder to manage.

            Those who don't exercise lose fitness and often become overweight, adding pounds every year. This is mostly abdominal fat, which increases the risk of heart disease and diabetes. On the other hand, one hour of brisk walking every day can cut the risk of obesity by 25 percent.

            Muscles atrophy when not used. For every decade after age 50, you lose about 6 percent of muscle mass with a 10-15% loss of strength. To build muscle, it is important to do strength training exercises at least twice a week using weights that you lift 10 to 12 times per session. By gently overloading a muscle, one can make muscle fibers thicker and stronger. Strength training also helps prevent bone loss.

            Inactivity also diminishes insulin sensitivity, leading to  elevated blood sugar levels.Regular exercise can reverse these trends. In a large study, every hour of watching television per day increased the risk of diabetes 14 percent. On the  other hand, every hour per day of brisk walking decreased the risk 34 percent. Unfortunately, diabetes is no longer just a disease of middle age. Because of the sedentary lifestyle of American children we are increasingly seeing diabetes among the youth.

           Inactivity also raises the risk of cancer. Men and women who are physically active can reduce their risk of colon cancer by30 to 40 percent. Regular exercise also appears to lower the risk of breast cancer by about 20 percent.

           Older people who are not physically active are at a greater risk for cognitive decline and dementia. In animal studies, the brains of physically active mice have more nerve connections and a better oxygen flow. Elderly people who exercised 3 or more times a week were 32 percent less likely to be diagnosed with dementia over the next 6 years than those who exercised fewer than 3 times a week.

            Inactivity also increases the risk of cardiovascular disease. Exercise improves heart function and increases flexibility of blood vessels and decreases blood pressure. Exercise also decreases the risk of blood clots. Active persons are 25 percent less likely to have a stroke, and 50 percent less likely to be diagnosed with heart disease than their sedentary counterparts.

           To achieve the best health benefits one needs at least 30 minutes a day of moderate-intensity exercise, such as brisk walking and cycling. As a bonus, regular exercise boosts the immune system and reduces the risk of upper respiratory tract infections.

By Winston Craig, PhD
Andrews University

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There is a high price tag to pay for being a couch potato. The lack of exercise can adversely affect the
function of the brain, heart, blood vessels, bones, liver, and the intestinal tract. An inactive person is
more likely to suffer from anxiety and depression, and find stress harder to manage.

Those who don't exercise lose fitness and often become overweight, adding pounds every year. This is mostly
abdominal fat, which increases the risk of heart disease and diabetes. On the other hand, one hour of brisk walking every day can cut the risk of obesity by 25 percent
.

Muscles atrophy when not used. For every decade after age 50, you lose about 6 percent of muscle mass with a 10-15% loss of strength. To build muscle, it is important to do strength training exercises at least twice a week using weights that you lift 10 to 12 times per session. By gently overloading a muscle, one can make muscle fibers thicker and stronger. Strength training also helps prevent bone loss. Inactivity also diminishes insulin sensitivity, leading to  elevated blood sugar levels. Regular exercise can reverse these

trends. In a large study, every hour of watching television per day increased the risk of diabetes 14 percent. On the  other hand, every hour per day of brisk walking decreased the risk 34 percent. Unfortunately, diabetes is no longer just a disease of middle age. Because of the sedentary lifestyle of American children we are increasingly seeing diabetes among the youth.

Inactivity also raises the risk of cancer. Men and women who are physically active can reduce their risk of colon cancer by30 to 40 percent. Regular exercise also appears to lower the risk of breast cancer by about 20 percent.

Older people who are not physically active are at a greater risk for cognitive decline and dementia. In animal studies, the brains of physically active mice have more nerve connections and a better oxygen flow. Elderly people who exercised 3 or more times a week were 32 percent less likely to be diagnosed with dementia over the next 6 years than those who exercised fewer than 3 times a week.

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There is a high price tag to pay for being a couch potato. The lack of exercise can adversely affect the
function of the brain, heart, blood vessels, bones, liver, and the intestinal tract. An inactive person is
more likely to suffer from anxiety and depression, and find stress harder to manage.

Those who don't exercise lose fitness and often become overweight, adding pounds every year. This is mostly
abdominal fat, which increases the risk of heart disease and diabetes. On the other hand, one hour of brisk walking every day can cut the risk of obesity by 25 percent.

Muscles atrophy when not used. For every decade after age 50, you lose about 6 percent of muscle mass with a 10-15% loss of strength. To build muscle, it is important to do strength training exercises at least twice a week using weights that you lift 10 to 12 times per session. By gently overloading a muscle, one can make muscle fibers thicker and stronger. Strength training also helps prevent bone loss. Inactivity also diminishes insulin sensitivity, leading to  elevated blood sugar levels. Regular exercise can reverse these

trends. In a large study, every hour of watching television per day increased the risk of diabetes 14 percent. On the  other hand, every hour per day of brisk walking decreased the risk 34 percent. Unfortunately, diabetes is no longer just a disease of middle age. Because of the sedentary lifestyle of American children we are increasingly seeing diabetes among the youth.

Inactivity also raises the risk of cancer. Men and women who are physically active can reduce their risk of colon cancer by30 to 40 percent. Regular exercise also appears to lower the risk of breast cancer by about 20 percent.

Older people who are not physically active are at a greater risk for cognitive decline and dementia. In animal studies, the brains of physically active mice have more nerve connections and a better oxygen flow. Elderly people who exercised 3 or more times a week were 32 percent less likely to be diagnosed with dementia over the next 6 years than those who exercised fewer than 3 times a week.

Inactivity also increases the risk of cardiovascular disease. Exercise improves heart function and increases flexibility of blood vessels and decreases blood pressure. Exercise also decreases the risk of blood clots. Active persons are 25 percent less likely to have a stroke, and 50 percent less likely to be diagnosed with heart disease than their sedentary counterparts.

To achieve the best health benefits one needs at least 30 minutes a day of moderate-intensity exercise, such as brisk walking and cycling. As a bonus, regular exercise boosts the immune system and reduces the risk of upper respiratory tract infections.

ctivity also increases the risk of cardiovascular disease. Exercise improves heart function and increases flexibility of blood vessels and decreases blood pressure. Exercise also decreases the risk of blood clots. Active persons are 25 percent less likely to have a stroke, and 50 percent less likely to be diagnosed with heart disease than their sedentary counterparts.

To achieve the best health benefits one needs at least 30 minutes a day of moderate-intensity exercise, such as brisk walking and cycling. As a bonus, regular exercise boosts the immune system and reduces the risk of upper respiratory tract infections.