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Health

Should a lack of exercise be considered a medical condition?

Would you really rather keep up with the Kardashians than sweat? That was a question I posed last year in this LA Times column. I asked it because physical activity rates are at an all time low, and yet we seem to have plenty of time available to watch TV. And this sorry state of affairs has led not just to expanding waist lines, but a serious health crisis. Exercise IS the cure for what ails you in most cases. There are few medical conditions that cannot be improved or ameliorated by physical activity.
By James Fell
Watching tv eating popcorn Masterfile

Would you really rather keep up with the Kardashians than sweat?

I ask this, and not for the first time, because physical activity rates are at an all time low, and yet we seem to have plenty of time available to watch TV. And this sorry state of affairs has led not just to expanding waistlines, but a serious health crisis. Exercise is the cure for what ails you in most cases, if not a great place to start. There are few medical conditions that cannot be improved or ameliorated by physical activity.

It’s a prescription that more people should follow, and perhaps you’ll be hearing it from your doctor soon. In a commentary in the Journal of Physiology Mayo Clinic doctor Michael Joyner argues that lack of exercise should be treated as a medical condition. The reason why is simple: just like other bad things like smoking, excessive drinking or eating junk, not being active is going to cause you health problems.

Since we live in a world that requires little movement, perhaps thinking of activity as a medical treatment will be a good way to get people moving...it can’t make things worse.

My advice, just like that in the article, is to take things slow. When you opt for a quick fix you can hurt yourself and do the wobbling penguin walk for days due to shredded muscle fibers. Have fun with it, because if you're not having fun you won't stick with anything.

Staying out of your doctor's bad books can be as simple as walking. Just a moderate amount can do amazing things to improve your health. To this end, I highly recommended buying a pedometer and wearing it all day. Track your progress and try to rack up the steps. It’s less expensive, and more effective, than popping pills, plus the side effects are all good ones.

Get your free metabolism report from James here.

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