We all know that obesity has reached epidemic proportions in the United States. 34 percent of American adults are obese and another 34 percent are overweight. Exercise is an essential tool in the fight against obesity, but according to the CDC, many Americans get no physical activity at all.
In a report on the nation’s health, the CDC found that fewer than two in 10 Americans get the recommended levels of exercise, and more than a quarter of U.S. adults do not devote any time to physical activity. Federal guidelines call for 150 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity every week, including two days of full-body strengthening.
Obese individuals spend on average 40 percent more on health care every year compared with individuals of normal weight. Obesity-related health care costs total an estimated $147 billion annually.
We need to make time to find a form of exercise we enjoy and that we can work into a regular routine. Walking at a brisk pace for 30 minutes is still considered one of the most effective means of weight control. The benefits of exercise include:
- Decreasing the risk of heart disease
- Decreasing high cholesterol
- Decreasing high blood pressure
- Stress reduction
- Weight loss or weight maintenance
Exercise can help improve:
- Your cardiovascular health by improving blood flow through your body
- Muscle strength, increasing your ability to do other physical activities
- Lung function
- Flexibility and strength