“We say exercise is good for health and I would almost flip it on its head and say not exercising is bad for your health. In the same way that they say going into nature lowers your blood pressure, I would say being out of nature raises your blood pressure. Our origin story is movement and is being in the natural environment and so movement is our natural state it's what we’re evolved for and it’s the not moving that’s bad for you. We say exercise is good for you, do it. But exercising should be our default.”
Jesse Charles, MD
Why should we exercise? Because as humans it’s our default. Our bodies were designed to move. Plus, research tells us that not exercising is bad for our health.
The quote above came from the Uphill Athlete podcast in an episode called ‘Talking Health, Performance and Longevity with Jesse Charles, MD.’
The advent of technology means that we are less active than we would have been historically. Most people own a car or use motorised transport rather than walking or using pedal power. Our domestic chores have become quick and easy with washing machines and dishwashers meaning we spend less time on our feet attending to these jobs. Food has become convenient and easy in the sense of buying take-out meals or packaged processed food to cut down time on needing to prepare every meal in our daily routine. The TV and internet have taken over with 24/7 access to media meaning more time spent on our bums than being up and outdoors.
The following was taken from the UK Government Website and was dated 16th October 2019:
Physical inactivity is responsible for one in six UK deaths (equal to smoking) and is estimated to cost the UK £7.4 billion annually (including £0.9 billion to the NHS alone).
Unfortunately our population is around 20% less active than in the 1960s. If current trends continue, it will be 35% less active by 2030.
Many people don’t realise that physical activity has significant benefits for health, both physical and mental, and can help to prevent and manage over 20 chronic conditions and diseases, including some cancers, heart disease, type 2 diabetes and depression.
Around 1 in 3 (34%) of men and 1 in 2 (42%) of women are not active enough for good health.
Would You Like A Disease?
If I asked you if you’d like to experience a disease, I am fairly sure you would say no.
However, as well as living in an age of technology, we also live in an age of instant gratification. We want everything now! No longer is it good enough to watch a TV series week-in-week-out and wait patiently for the next episode as we are left on a cliff-hanger from the last. Instead, we spend hours-upon-hours watching box sets, episode-after-episode, seemingly lacking the ability to wait patiently for the next instalment for any great length of time.
We see what is in front of us here and now and we seek the quick fix or temporary feel-good. We seldom think forward to the future or about our health long-term. It’s not necessarily our individual fault either. The consumerist culture we are living within capitalises on making us want things in the here and now.
Thinking about health and life much more than a day ahead is far from most people's radar. It's as if we think of ourselves as invincible against disease, or even immortal. In our mind it's like 'I'll never be the one that gets ill right?!'
What does this have to do with exercise? Well, we know that not exercising leads to a wealth of ill-health conditions. Whereas exercising is known to reduce the risk of such conditions.
The age of technology means that we must seek exercise outside of our normal daily routines, since most of us work in sedentary roles and choose social time or downtime that is also sedentary.
We must also stop thinking about the instant gratification of not being active or exercising in the here and now. It may feel good to put it to the back of our minds and engage in more sedentary behaviours. However, if we want to give ourselves the best chance of reducing the risk of ill-health and increasing our mobility and independence in later life, we must stop revelling in the instant gratification of inactivity and focus on our future health and life in order to prioritise exercise and movement in our daily lives now and always.
“Not exercising is bad for your health”
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