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Just how much does our sitting affect our health? I’m sure you’ve heard by now that sedentary is the “new smoking”. Ultimately, being sedentary (sitting all the time whether at work, at the computer, or on the couch), has drastic effects on your health.

Compare these 10 risks of being sedentary with 10 benefits of being active:

Highest risk for heart attacks.


Being physically active for 3+ hours / week can cut your risk of heart attack in half.

Increased risk for cancer – particularly colon and breast cancer.


One study shows a 40% decrease in cancer mortality for active people.

Cognitive decline. Increased risk of dementia and Alzheimer’s.


50% risk reduction of dementia through regular activity.

Increases insulin resistance and developing type II diabetes.


Greater insulin resistance, less chance for developing Type II diabetes.

Increased risk of stroke, or brain attack.


Physical activity decreases risk of stroke by 50% in women and 67% in men.

Sarcopenia – loss of lean muscle tissue, which adds to more weight gain.


Helps maintain your muscle mass, which also keeps your metabolism burning calories.

Greater bone loss, increased chance of fractures and osteoporosis.


Bones require exercise to maintain their strength and content.

Increased depression and mood swings.


Greater happiness and emotional well-being.

Gaining excess weight, and increasing your risk for obesity.


An hour of daily walking cuts the risk of obesity by 24%.

More susceptible to illness.


More efficient immune system.


The American Council on Exercise and Fitness and many other health organizations say the baseline activity for maintaining your health 150 minutes of moderate cardio exercise every week along with weight training. Cardio activities include: walking, hiking, biking, swimming, skating, cross-country skiing, rowing and the elliptical.

If you haven’t exercised in a few years (or a few decades), start with 10 minutes a day, 3-4 days a week. Remember - some is better than none! Start with wherever you are at. Set a target that is right for you. Get in the habit and slowly build up to 150 minutes of moderate cardio activity per week. (There are more health benefits and more drastic weight loss effects when your target is between 150 – 300 minutes per week). For now, if you build up to 150 minutes of aerobic exercise per week you will see a great improvement in your health. An easy way to remember the cardio part is: five, 30-minute sessions per week.


1. Keeps the excess pounds at bay - Combined with a healthy diet, aerobic exercise helps you to lose weight and keep it off.

2. Increases your stamina - Although aerobic exercise may make you tired in the short term, over the long term you'll enjoy increased stamina and reduced fatigue.

3. Wards off sickness - Aerobic exercise activates your immune system and you be less susceptible to minor viral illnesses, such as colds and the flu.

4. Strengthens your heart - A stronger heart doesn't need to beat as fast and pumps blood more efficiently, which improves blood flow to all parts of your body.

5. Keeps your arteries clear - More blood flow means more energy and a more efficient system

6. Wards off the major health risks - Heart attacks, strokes, diabetes, and various types of cancer can be prevented through regular physical activity.

7. Keeps you independent as you age - Aerobic exercise keeps your muscles strong, and helps you maintain mobility as you get older.

8. Brain health - Aerobic exercise keeps your mind sharp.

9. Lengthens Your Life - Studies show that people who participate in regular aerobic exercise live longer than those who don't exercise regularly.

10. Enhances Your Well Being - Your body will release endorphins that promote an increased sense of well-being.

Don’t take your health “sitting down.” Get out and enjoy all the benefits of a healthy, moving body!

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