I came across an interesting article recently which reviewed the findings of exercise researcher Dr Steven Blair. Dr Blair hails from the University of South Carolina and has spent years looking at the links between levels of physical activity and the effects those levels have on life long health. His research has been widely reviewed and helps shape both public policy and perceptions as to the importance of physical activity in the individual health equation.
What struck me in particular was the need to talk more about getting people off the couch and less about what they eat. His findings call for a need to talk more about the benefits of exercise and less about the worry of obesity which has dominated health thinking for the past 20 years. Yes a healthy diet is to be commended but it should not take precedence over 30 minutes of moderate physical activity (think walking) per day. Just that amount can reduce mortality rates by 50%. To quote Dr Blair, “You can be obese and fit” and he would like to see a strategy that emphasizes basic physical activity and tones down the rhetoric on weight.
Such a strategy, supported by public policy, would further help more people make the necessary change to a more active lifestyle, improving quality of life and reducing the ever growing strain on the public health system.
So, for a long and healthy life, get up and get moving!