Why physical activity has such an impact on our health? What happens to our health when we do not add workout into daily routines? What does longevity mean and how is it linked with exercise?
The concept of Longevity
Living longer and better is an aspiration pursued by most people. Longevity corresponds exactly to that ability to add more years into our lives, as well as more health into those extra years.
In 2015, the World Health Organization introduced the concept of Healthy Ageing, the process of developing and maintaining a functional ability that promotes wellbeing in older age.
Among many of our daily habits, physical activity is one of the most important determinants of longevity due to its role in the prevention of chronic conditions such as obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, cancer, dementia and premature death. Exercise improves our overall health, mood, and quality of life. It can also sharpen mental function, boost concentration, and help us to sleep.
Inactivity: putting our lives at risk
Nowadays, unconsciously, many of us spend most of the time seated while watching TV, checking our mobile phones and tablets, working on computers or reading. As opposed to a decades ago, people currently spend much more time inactive and motionless, especially due to the use of technology: washing machines allow us to relax and rest; cars are more affordable which means we walk less. All in all, contemporary life is much easier than in the past.
Despite such a very pleasant and comfortable scenario, the lack of exercise contributes to the emergence of many chronic conditions and increases the risk of premature death. In most developed countries, economic activity revolves around the services sector. Workplaces are mainly at offices, where we stay seated and seldom move away from the desk. Unfortunately, children are already experiencing the impact of inactivity as there are much more pretexts to play inside than outside.
Move your body: it’s never too late to start
The good news is that the benefits of physical activity accumulate across life, so we are never too old to start worrying about exercising. Harvard Health Publishing advises us to work toward reducing the amount of time we spend sitting every day. For instance, those with desk jobs are recommended to get up to walk around regularly, try chair yoga or a go for a few desk exercises. If we have been inactive for quite a while, we should walk 2 minutes every 10 to 15 minutes (during commercial breaks when watching TV or reading). And if we jog, we could add an extra level of effort to it by starting at our regular pace and then gradually increasing it.
Small adjustments in our daily routine can add up to big changes in our life. Adding physical activity into our everyday habits will allow us to increase longevity, living longer and better.