To be slothful is to be sinful and there is certainly store in this biblical caveat as indolence, inactivity and a sedentary lifestyle all have deleterious effects on a person’s health. Where a recent study found that even brief periods of inactivity, in this case with children sitting in front of the television, led to increased waistlines and decreased muscle activity as the years went by, there is certainly a risk from leading a sedentary lifestyle and now according to a new research, the perils of inactivity are even graver with it being equated to smoking.
The new research, conducted by researchers from the Harvard School of Public Health, the Federal University of Pelotas in Brazil and numerous other institutions, inactivity is just as bad as smoking and that because of this lack of exercise or physical activity, there has been an increase in “chronic diseases.”
Publishing the study in the medical journal, Lancet, the study around 5.3 million deaths a year occur around the world because of a lack of physical activity among adults and the researchers added that the problem had become so acute that it was time it was regarded as a ‘pandemic.’ The report stated that around a third of all adults are not doing enough physical activity and because of this problems stemming from being overweight, having cholesterol, diabetes etc are leading to increased heart disease and other such ailments. Co-author of the report, Dr I-Min Lee of Harvard University said, “Being inactive increases your risk of developing chronic diseases," with the report also adding that inactivity was claiming as many lives as was smoking.
Lead researcher, Dr Pedro Hallal of the University of Pelotas said, "With the upcoming 2012 Olympic Games, sport and physical activity will attract tremendous worldwide attention. Although the world will be watching elite athletes from many countries compete in sporting events... most spectators will be quite inactive. The global challenge is clear - make physical activity a public health priority throughout the world to improve health and reduce the burden of disease.”
The report was conducted by a team of 33 researchers from around the world and it was discovered that people in high income countries were more likely to be inactive although the researchers did stated that comparisons between the different cultures and countries involved was difficult but the results were valid. The report concluded by recommending that adults should do around 150 minutes of physical activity a week.