Did you know that today's 10-year-old children are the first generation expected to have a shorter life expectancy than their parents?
That's unacceptable! Physical inactivity is now identified as the fourth leading risk factor for global mortality. Physical inactivity levels are rising in many countries with major implications for the prevalence of noncommunicable diseases (NCDs) and the general health of the population worldwide.
What are noncommunicable diseases? NCDs include Cancer, Diabetes, Hypertension, Osteoporosis, Heart Disease, Fibromyalgia and Alzheimer's just to name a few. Bottom line, these are diseases that are not contagious or transferable from person to person.
I've written earlier posts on the Sitting Disease and that we need to just get up and move more along with eating less – and voilà! Problem solved (we can only wish it were that easy). All that being said, it's apparently not happening in most of the world. People are moving less, eating more and not doing anything about it. As Darren Hardy states in the Compound Effect, our daily activities can have either a positive or a negative impact on our lives long-term – but it boils down to a choice we all have to make and whether we make the choice to do something daily that will benefit or harm us. Unfortunately for most of the world, the choice is to eat more, move less, repeat.
As a father of 2 beautiful, ACTIVE daughters, I can tell you that there's no way in hell my daughter will outlive me! And any parent should hope that they never have to outlive their own child either. That being said if things don't change in a hurry, kids aged 10 or so might be the first generation that has a shorter life expectancy than that of their parents. Based on a series of studies of various worldwide health trends, it's clear we have an epidemic on our hands. It's an epidemic of NON-ACTIVITY! Makes me just want to scream What THE “F”!
This is bad and its only going to get worse unless we make a concerted and collected effort to change what we are EACH doing day-in, day-out. It starts with parents in the home living a life of health, wellness and fitness. It's one thing to tell our kids to get off the couch and move, but it is so much more impact to SHOW them how to get off the couch and move. Kids do what the parents do so the onus is on us. If interested in a more global discussion, the WHO shares a global strategy about diet, health and physical activity online for your perusal.
Here's a great example from the Fun Factory of how making something fun can change our behaviors – parents, when was the last time you made it fun for your kids to get out from behind a screen and move with purpose?
Hopefully some of the below information gets the juices flowing and questions churning inside your heads. Maybe start with this question, [highlight]are your daily habits (actions) getting you closer to living a healthy, active lifestyle or are they bringing you further and further away?[/highlight]
10 Facts on Physical Activity from the World Health Organization
1. Physical inactivity is the fourth leading risk factor for global mortality
- Globally, six percent of deaths are attributed to physical inactivity. This follows high blood pressure (13%), tobacco use (9%) and is equal to high blood glucose (6%).
- Moreover, physical inactivity is the main cause for about 21–25% of breast and colon cancers, 27% of diabetes and 30% of ischemic heart disease burden.
2. Regular physical activity helps to support a healthy body
Physically active persons:
- have lower rates of: coronary heart disease, high blood pressure, stroke, diabetes, colon and breast cancer, and depression;
- have a lower risk of falling and of hip or vertebral fractures;
- are more likely to support their weight.
3. Physical activity should not be mistaken for sport
Physical activity is any bodily movement produced by the skeletal muscles that uses energy. This includes sports, exercise and other activities such as playing, walking, doing household chores, gardening, and dancing.
4. Both moderate and vigorous intensity physical activity bring health benefits
Intensity refers to the rate at which the activity is being performed. It can be thought of as “how hard a person works to do the activity”.
The intensity of different forms of physical activity varies between people. Depending on an individual's relative level of fitness, examples of moderate physical activity could include: brisk walking, dancing or household chores. Examples of vigorous physical activity could be: running, fast cycling, fast swimming or moving heavy loads.
5. Ages 5-17 years old
People aged 5–17 should accumulate at least 60 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity daily. Amounts of physical activity greater than 60 minutes provide additional health benefits.
6. Ages 18-64 years old
Adults aged 18–64 should do at least 150 minutes of moderately intense physical activity throughout the week or at least 75 minutes of vigorous- activity throughout the week or an equivalent combination of moderate- and vigorous activity. All activity should be performed in bouts of at least 10 minutes duration.
7. Adults aged 65 and above
The main recommendations for adults and older adults are the same. In addition, older adults with poor mobility should do physical activity to enhance balance and prevent falls three or more days per week. When older adults cannot do the recommended amount of physical activity due to health conditions, they should be as physically active as their abilities and conditions allow.
8. These recommendations are relevant to all healthy adults
Unless specific medical conditions indicate the contrary, these recommendations apply to all people, irrespective of gender, race, ethnicity or income level. They also apply to individuals with chronic noncommunicable conditions, not related to mobility, such as hypertension or diabetes. These recommendations can be valid for adults with disabilities as well.
Watch out for Sitting Disease!
9. Doing some physical activity is better than doing none
Inactive people should start with small amounts of physical activity and gradually increase duration, frequency and intensity over time. Inactive adults, older adults and those with disease limitations will have added health benefits when they become more active.
Pregnant, postpartum women and persons with cardiac events may need to take extra precautions and seek medical advice before striving to achieve the recommended levels of physical activity.
10. Supportive environments and communities may help people to be more physically active
Urban and environmental policies can have huge potential to increase the physical activity levels in the population. Examples of these policies include: ensuring that walking, cycling and other forms of active transportation are accessible and safe for all; or that schools have safe spaces and facilities for students to spend their free time actively.
Don't wait as the costs are adding up! Get up and move… and tell everyone else to do the same…
Resources to check out