Is convenience making us fat? It’s under YOUR control!
Convenience and/or automation can be wonderful. Remember when we had to actually leave the house to buy things? Park the car and walk into a restaurant to buy lunch? Open the mini-van door and maneuver two kids into car seats while balancing your purse, groceries, etc? Things like on-line shopping, automatic rear or sliding doors on cars and even banking from a phone or tablet have made life SO much easier!
More and more, people are demanding that things be easier to do/use because they like the convenience. It has also become habit to not have to work too hard to do routine things like getting in and out of the car, opening and closing doors, or opening jars and bottles. This can create a cycle of using your muscles less and less as they get weaker and weaker. Weaker muscles lower your metabolism and weaken your joint strength. As this progresses, weight is gained at the same time as the body becomes less and less able to move around easily. This can become an endless cycle and a downward spiral. A heavier body puts more stress on joints making it more painful for movement. Painful movement most likely will lead to less and less movement, leading to more weight gain and so on….you get the picture!
This is why exercise now has to be a part of your regular daily routine. Since we used to have to work harder to do things in life, it wasn’t so important to “work out”. Life used to be full of movement! Now, if you don’t make time for it, chances are you will rarely get the 150 minutes (2.5 hours) of exercise a week recommended by the CDC (http://www.cdc.gov/physicalactivity/everyone/guidelines/adults.html). Without regular vigorous movement, all of the organs in your body will suffer from low blood supply and poor muscle tone. Possibly more important is that your heart is unaccustomed to working hard which leaves you more vulnerable to heart attack or stroke upon sudden exertion.
What can you do? Most of the risk factors for heart disease are within YOUR control! You don’t have to give up all the conveniences you’ve become accustomed to, but do stop and think, do I really need to valet park to go shopping or can I park a little ways out and get a few extra steps in my day?
Regular daily exercise can help you stay strong and avoid the following risk factors for heart attack according to the CDC:
High blood pressure, high LDL cholesterol, and smoking are key risk factors for heart disease. About half of Americans (49%) have at least one of these three risk factors. Other factors include:
- Overweight and obesity
- Poor diet
- Physical inactivity
- Excessive alcohol use
EVERY ONE of these can be controlled by YOU!! I implore you to listen to that smart person inside who says, “It’s not that hard to get up off the couch and go adjust the thermostat!” “It’s a beautiful day, I’m going to park far out from the store today and walk just a little more!” You can work a little extra movement into every day: do body weight squats as you wait for a meal to be ready, try some walking lunges through the house, stand on one foot while you brush your teeth to help with your balance, do push ups at the bathroom or kitchen counter! It all counts, and it all adds up to a stronger, healthier YOU!