We're a nation of couch potatoes

Nearly half of Americans sit far too many hours a day and don’t get any exercise at all, a new study finds.

A survey of some 5,900 adults found that nearly 26 percent sit for more than eight hours a day, 45 percent don’t get any moderate or vigorous exercise during the week, and about 11 percent sit more than eight hours a day and are physically inactive.

Being sedentary increases the risk for heart disease, high blood pressure and dying early, the researchers said.

When people sit, they deactivate the large muscles in their legs, and this has a host of metabolic consequences that seem to be harmful.

Better efforts are needed to get people moving, the researchers said. Programs that increase physical activity and reduce sitting might be especially effective at reducing health risks.

The U.S. Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans say that any amount of physical activity – even two minutes’ worth – can add up to huge health benefits. The guidelines point out:

  • A single bout of physical activity can sharpen your mind, reduce your anxiety, lower your blood pressure, improve your sleep and strengthen your body’s ability to convert blood sugar into energy.
  • Regular physical activity can improve your brain health, reduce your risk of eight different forms of cancer, and lower your risk for excess weight gain.
  • Chronic health conditions improved by phy-sical activity include osteoarthritis, high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, anxiety and depression.

Source: HealthDay News