Introduction to Physical Activity

Okay! We have all heard it before, how getting even just a little physical activity each week can have its benefits. Studies show that regular physical activity can improve a person’s health and reduce the risk of developing many other health problems. Our lifestyle choices such as diet, smoking, alcohol and drug use also play an important role concerning the effects on our health. By changing our poor lifestyle choices combined with regular physical activity over months and years can produce long-term health benefits.

The sad truth is that Americans are always on the go. The technological age has made it possible to cram more and more into our day squeezing out the important things in life. It isn’t necessarily that we are lazy we just aren’t making the right lifestyle choices.

According to the CDC

During the past 20 years there has been a dramatic increase in obesity in the United States. In 2008, only one state (Colorado) had a prevalence of obesity less than 20%. Thirty-two states had a prevalence equal to or greater than 25%; six of these states (Alabama, Mississippi, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, and West Virginia ) had a prevalence of obesity equal to or greater than 30%.

2008 US Obesity by State
2008 US Obesity by State

Depending on where you live the obesity rate could be anywhere from 1 out of 5 people to nearly 1 out of every 3. (Sounds similar to some smoking statistics I’ve seen)

There are many factors that contribute to being obese; genes, culture, environment, behavior, metabolism, and socioeconomic status. Not all of which we can control but there are two very important factors that we do have control over that can greatly help. Those are diet and physical activity.

When quitting smoking it is important to know that smoking affects your metabolism. Some smokers are underweight, which some of this may be related to other health effects of smoking on the body. There are smokers that are overweight and much of this may be because people smoke when they are hungry throughout the day then over eat during meal times. The point is that smoking affects the way we eat and when we quit smoking there will be changes in the body and our eating habits. By enlisting into some form of physical activity you can minimize your weight gain and improve your health at the same time.