Run for your life

February 6, 2012

The YouTube video posted below contains a brief presentation by Dr. Mike Evans about the importance of exercise for overall health. He cites a number of studies showing dramatic reductions in various diseases among those who engage in even modest amounts of exercise.  The basic message of the presentation is that if you want to avoid the major chronic diseases, such as heart disease, diabetes, or cancer, the single biggest thing you can do it get off your butt and move for at least 30 minutes a day. Hence the title of his lecture: “23 and 1/2 hours”   

However, as is pointed out in this article in the Ottawa Citizen and another article in the NY Times there is a growing body of research indicating that the benefits of 30 minutes of exercise pale in comparison to the costs of 23.5 hours of sitting or lying down. The take-away lesson from this body of research is this: if you want to live longer and avoid chronic disease, it’s not enough to exercise for an hour or two each day; what you need to do is to stop sitting down. Putting this into practice might be a little difficult, especially for those of us with desk jobs of one sort or another, for it does require lifestyle and maybe even occupational changes, but at least in principle the lesson is so simple and completely free that it’s a scandal this information is not more widely known. Surely this has to do with the fact that no one is profiting off of it. No one has yet figured out how to package the non-sedentary lifestyle into a plastic bottle that can be marketed. But we can easily imagine a new line of medicine on the horizon from Pfizer–like sterilized thumb-tacks that can be taped to your butt to give you all the incentive you need to avoid sitting for prolonged periods.

Tags: , ,

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


Democracy Now