Only slightly more than half of Americans get the recommended amount of physical exercise. Predictably, many people blame their sedentary lifestyle on busy schedules and a lack of free time.
But a new study has proven that those excuses are baseless. Today, we’ll take a look at this revealing research on Americans’ time management, and take stock of the health benefits of using some of your free time for bone-strengthening physical activity.
Many American’s Have Time To Exercise, But Don’t
A new study conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) examined free time and physical activity among Americans older than 14. The American Time Use Survey provided the researchers with data about how 32,048 Americans utilize each hour of their day.
Many Americans fail to meet the CDC’s recommended physical activity guideline of 150 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity per day. The study aimed to determine whether this might happen because the average American doesn’t have sufficient free time to accomplish that exercise goal.
However, the study found that Americans averaged more than five hours of free time every day. In fact, no subgroup (women, men, or a particular ethnicity, education level, or income level) had less than four and a half hours of free time.1
The definition of free time in the survey was very specific, excluding activities like chores, grocery shopping, childcare, and self-care. The study found that most people spent between 145 and 245 minutes of their free time a day in front of a screen, but only from 7 to 26 minutes a day engaging in physical activity.1
With only a small substitution of sedentary activities (like surfing the internet, or watching tv), for physical exercise, Americans could achieve the CDC’s recommendation of 150 minutes of exercise per week and reap the resultant health benefits.
A CDC survey study found that Americans fail to get the recommended minimum amount of exercise, even though they have an average of five hours per day of free time. For most Americans, more than half of that free time is spent in front of a screen.
Exercise Is Worth The Time It Takes
Exercise is an essential component of good health. It’s also the most direct and effective way to build bone and improve bone health. In addition to building bone, below are a few notable benefits of exercise that illustrate the value of dedicating time each day to working out.
Exercise Improves Memory – Studies have found that vigorous physical activity increases people’s ability to learn and retain new vocabulary. This may be because the high impact anaerobic springs used in the study increased levels of important neuro-chemicals like dopamine, epinephrine and brain-derived neurotrophic factor.2 Other studies have shown that aerobic exercise increases brain volume, improving memory function and reducing the risk of dementia.3
Exercise Reduces Stress – When you exercise, your brain produces more of the endorphins that reduce feelings of stress. It not only strengthens your body, enabling you to withstand more physical stress, but it strengthens your brain’s ability to withstand stressors.4
Exercise Prevents Heart Disease – A study that examined data from 305 studies including nearly 340,000 participants found that physical activity interventions were more effective than drug treatments for patients who had previously had a stroke.5
Exercise Corrects Dowager’s Hump – Kyphosis, or Dowager’s Hump, decreases both the quality and the length of life. Fortunately, this postural impairment is correctible with exercise— protecting both your bones and your vitality.6
And of course, the most important result of exercise for Savers is the stimulation of new bone growth triggered by weight-bearing exercise.
There are many benefits of exercise, from an increased lifespan to the stimulation of the bone remodeling process – all of which leads to stronger bones and longer and healthier life.
A Prescription For Exercise
Given the overwhelming and consistent scientific consensus that exercise is the best way to improve health, shouldn’t it replace pharmaceuticals on doctor’s prescription pads?
The American College of Sports Medicine, in association with Kaiser Permanente, proposed just that in a report titled, “Call to Action on Making Physical Activity Assessment and Prescription a Medical Standard of Care.”7
A collection of respected medical professionals gathered to pen the report, which recommends acting on our knowledge of the power of exercise by making an assessment of physical activity a standard part of every doctor’s visit. Furthermore, they propose that exercise should be a medical prescription.
This is fully aligned with the holistic and drug-free guidelines and practices in the Osteoporosis Reversal Program. It’s heartening to see a collection of doctors pushing past the lure of quick-fix drugs and advocating for real health solutions that will have lasting and positive effects on patients.
A group of medical professionals published a report advocating that physical activity assessment should become a standardized part of every visit to the doctor, and for exercise to become a prescribed health intervention.
Take Pride In Your Exercise
The time you make in your busy schedule to stick to an exercise routine will pay dividends that expound exponentially. From your heart to your longevity, to your brain, to your bones– regular physical activity makes you stronger, healthier, and happier.
Celebrate your status as one of the few who are achieving that simple but elusive goal: to fight osteoporosis and improve your quality of life every single day.