Couch potatoes and other people who have experienced physical inactivity for a prolonged period may need a prescription for exercise. No, it isn’t a doctor’s prescription per se but a slow and progressive approach toward achieving physical fitness. Yes, it may be that in the future, doctors will consider physical inactivity as a medical condition and treat it as such.
A Public Health Threat
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, Americans spend approximately 10 hours each day on sedentary activities, such as watching television, sitting in front of a computer or playing with gadgets, and driving. While there are benefits to these activities, these are widely considered as a significant public health threat!
Studies have pointed out that the more hours per day spent on sedentary activities, particularly on prolonged sitting, the worse the health outlook and the higher the risk of all-cause mortality. Scientists have also sounded the alarm bells regarding the correlation between prolonged sitting and the risk for chronic degenerative conditions like heart disease, diabetes, and cancer.
Many health experts are even suggesting that physical inactivity should be considered a medical condition on its own and, in the process, measures can be taken to limit it while promoting physical activity. Just imagine if physical inactivity can be considered along the lines of addiction for cigarettes and recreational drugs so treatment plans can be made for it.
A General Prescription
For now, however, you don’t need a prescription from your doctor for physical activity after months, even years, of a sedentary lifestyle. The only exceptions include after being immobilized due to a medical condition or health-related situations, such as after an injury or after childbirth – you should discuss with your doctor when and how to get back into the game.
For most people, nonetheless, the general prescription is a slow, gradual and progressive approach to physical fitness. Keep these tips in mind and you should be on the right track.
- Set achievable goals by breaking up a large goal into manageable chunks. For example, instead of aiming for an hour-long workout, go for three 15-minute brisk walks or runs at an Equinox treadmill.
- Choose your conducive setting. Not everybody appreciates running outdoors so going to the gym is a better option. Be sure to wear the right gear, too, since it will become part of your motivation.
- Put your goals into writing and monitor your progress. You will become more motivated when you can see where you’ve been, where you are now, and where you’re going.
And you may have to get an exercise buddy because exercise becomes more fun when it’s shared with another.