Aside from dietary concerns – which are major, as all the processed foods and sugars in the American diet are destroying our health – one extremely common thing that we do as a nation is leading to our extra pounds: we sit around.
According to the Food Research and Action Center (FRAC), obesity rates in both adults and children are more than twice what they were 40 years ago. Statistics have found that over two thirds of American adults, and one third of school-age children, are overweight or obese. In the past forty years, the activity that has grown along with our waistlines is the time we spend sitting.
The rise of technology, while it has done worlds of good, has also made it possible to accomplish many tasks from an armchair. It has also led to many more jobs requiring long hours being sedentary behind a desk.
When we are relaxing at home after a long day spent sitting, many of us watch TV, surf the Internet or play games – all of which require no physical motion beyond our fingertips.
While it may seem obvious that getting up and getting moving is the way to lose those stubborn pounds (along with a healthy diet, of course), it’s almost so obvious that many of us never begin. However, the time that we as a nation spend sitting around is literally killing us.
The American Heart Association states that among physical activities, walking has “the lowest dropout rate of them all.” The benefits of taking a brisk walk for just 30 minutes a day, especially in nature, are innumerable, and can melt that pesky butt and thigh fat like nobody’s business.
Besides helping you to drop excess weight, walking offers amazing benefits for heart health, including lowering blood pressure and decreasing the risk of heart disease. It has also been shown to reduce the risk of stroke, type 2 diabetes, osteoporosis, and breast and colon cancer.
As walking on a regular basis improves blood flow to both the body and the brain, it helps the body to maintain optimal physical function, as well as cognitive abilities, throughout the years. It can also reduce stress, promote better sleep and even ease the pain of fibromyalgia. Taking a stroll among the trees can do wonders to ease both depression and anxiety.
So, next time you find yourself stressing out about your unwanted fat, turn off the TV and computer, turn your IPod to your favorite song, and get walking.
-The Alternative Daily