Because of technology and poor dieting (among other reasons), Americans aren’t as active as they once were.
Nearly half of all Americans “are not sufficiently active enough to achieve health benefits.” Roughly one-third of Arkansans are inactive altogether.
The problem is only getting worse: In recent years, physical activity rates have decreased in 32 states. And it leads to devastating consequences for not only inactive individuals, but also our healthcare system: More than $117 billion in healthcare costs are associated with inadequate physical activity. The less active Americans are, the more we spend caring for them.
How can you become more active? You don’t have to run a half-marathon or spend two hours a day in the gym. Walk, walk, and walk. Making subtle tweaks to your daily routine can boost your activity—and provide significant health benefits. Here are just a few ways:
- Instead of using your remote control to change TV channels, stand up and do it on the actual TV. You should also stand up and walk around during commercial breaks.
- If you’re talking on your phone, walk around instead of sitting down. Pacing not only makes you more active, but also more engaged in the conversation.
- Use stairs instead of elevators and escalators. Walk up and back down. At an airport, walk to your gate instead of using moving walkways.
- Don’t just do all of your shopping online—if you don’t have to. While it has become antiquated, make time for a trip to your local grocery store or shopping mall.
- Public transportation is tempting. So are Ubers and Lyfts. But if you have a choice between a five-minute car ride and a 15-minute walk, choose the walk. You’ll feel better about yourself.
Regular walking leads to lower rates of high blood pressure, heart disease, and type 2 diabetes. It also strengthens your muscles and improves your mood. The more you walk, the greater the benefits.
If you don’t have the time or willpower to work out for hours on end, just incorporate more walking in your daily routine.
You’ll become a healthier version of yourself—and save us all money on health care!