Thursday, February 28, 2013

Searcher: Is Going to the Gym Really Necessary?

I found an article that absolutely supports what we have discussed in class this week: This article discusses the harm of sitting around all day, and emphasizes the fact that sitting down is independent of fitness level. It makes the point that exercising a lot and not exercising at all are not actually polar opposites as we might think. Two people, one who exercises very hard seven days a week and is "in great shape" and one who does not ever exercise, may be at risk for the same health problems if both live relatively sedentary lifestyles. If both of these people made an effort to be less sedentary all day long, they would be equally successful in reversing these health problems.

This is not necessarily to say that working out at the gym is not good for us and is therefore pointless--working out has been shown to be beneficial, and some exercise is better than none. However, in terms of overall health, simply working out for an hour each day is not the proper way to think about exercise. An interesting point the article makes is that this phenomenon of decreased sedentism leading to reduction of health problems is completely independent of other factors. The same results that are found in "active" and "non-active" people are found in smokers and non-smokers. The most important activities we can do to reduce disease risk are the "non-exercise" ones, as this article puts it. These include walking to places, standing while on the phone, taking the stairs, and just fidgeting instead of sitting still.

I think this article definitely makes sense (and it makes me happy to know that I don't need to go to the gym every day in order to be healthy--I despise running), and it's good to know that living a less sedentary lifestyle can be so easy and have so many benefits. However, there are many factors for good health. Activity is important, as are nutrition, fresh air, sleep, and sunshine. I think it makes the most sense to slowly make small changes to improve all aspects of health, because usually when we make one healthy lifestyle change, we are easily encouraged to continue making more.

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