More Reasons to Get Up and Move!
As a critical care physician, I realized that I was spending my career reacting to disease. While I enjoyed bringing people relief to their pain, I didn’t feel like I was actually helping to make the world healthier. The best thing I could do for my patients would be to teach them to prevent disease by adopting a healthy lifestyle. In my mind, it was for more beneficial if we prevented conditions like heart disease and Type 2 diabetes through nutrition and exercise instead of trying to manage the consequences late in life.
This thinking inspired me to write Dr. A’s Habits of Health. In the Habits of Health System, creating vibrant health and longevity while preventing disease is a core theme. The medical community has known for some time that thriving at a healthy weight with regular activity supports essential physical functions, preventing many chronic diseases from ever gaining a foothold. Based on this knowledge and trends in healthcare, the future of healthcare is in disease prevention.
The American Cancer Society (ACS), under its guidelines for cancer prevention, says that “While it is not clear exactly how excess body fat, consuming too many calories, and lack of physical activity raise cancer risk , there is no question that they are linked to an increased risk of many types of cancer and that they are a serious and growing health problem.”
I’ve written about the importance of activity in the past, but I wanted to highlight a new ACS study in the hopes of driving the point home. As part of their ongoing research into cancer prevention, the ACS found a correlation between leisure time spent sitting and an increased risk of myeloma, breast, and ovarian cancers in women.
This insight is not a breakthrough. Instead, it’s another piece of evidence added to an enormous pile of rigorous scientific studies that agree unequivocally on one thing: inactivity can rob you of your longevity, stealing away opportunities for you to create memories with the people that you love.
As the ACS says, “there is no question” as to the value of activity and healthy eating choices. Seeing study after study reinforce this fact should help you to better frame your self-discipline and to more clearly see the rewards of your daily efforts to create health.
To combat the dangers of sitting, try the following:
- Take regular walks. A lunchtime walk or a post-work stroll might not sound like a lot, but something as simple as walking can produce a big return for your health.
- Try a standing desk. More and more offices are recognizing the dangers of sitting and accommodating employees with standing desks. See if your workplace has one of these programs!
- Fill your leisure time with active hobbies. Make your reward for a hard day of work something fun and active instead of parking yourself in front of the couch. Try yoga or join a recreational sports league.
For more insights into introducing healthy motion in your life, start with chapter 14 of Dr. A’s Habits of Health.
Get out there and enjoy moving!