Movement receives minimal consideration within present day society. The availability of modern convenience is anathematic to engaging in wholesome, healthy movement. Many people regard movement (not necessarily exercise) as the domain of the young. Yet, even in cases of less than optimal health, the design of the body is faciliatory of movement. Lack of movement can, over time, lead to a decrease in the degree (of the capacity) and extent (of the capability) to move. There is nothing on earth that, to a greater or lesser measure, does not move. Movement is key to existence.
Many adults spend a large portion of their time being sedentary (prolonged sitting) despite the benefits of regular physical activity. A study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) found that 8.3% of deaths of non-disabled adults ages 25 and older were attributed to physical inactivity. Being physically active and reducing sedentary behavior benefits health. Regular physical activity, of at least 150 minutes a week, is associated with reduced risk of:
- Cardiovascular diseases, such as heart disease and stroke.
- Type 2 diabetes.
- Certain cancers, including bladder, breast and colon cancer.
- Anxiety and depression.
Costs associated with physical inactivity account for more than 11% of total health care expenditures and are estimated at $117 billion annually.
How modern comforts encourage minimal physical movement
Is modern life a blessing or a curse?
The advance of technology has made our life easier, yet more complicated. Patients visit various health locales every day complaining of sore joints and back pain. What do most ailing patients have in common? They usually work harder and longer hours to afford all modern gadgets and facilities. Cell phones have become an extension of our body! Individuals do not leave the residence or go about doing chores without having the cell phone within reach. .
Do we have better quality life now than before?
The rise of urbanization, with all that it entails (i.e. pollution, smog, noise), has contributed to new lifestyle habits. In an effort to avoid all the hassle and bustle, people opt for working from home. Thus, spending quality time glued to a screen, being that of either the laptop, TV, tablet or smartphone is the new normal. Besides affecting them psychologically, it also causes serious physical problems, such as obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular disease.
Encouraging increased movement amongst seniors
This study has shown that some older people believe in the potential of physical activity to improve physical and mental well-being. Yet, key barriers can dissuade individuals from participating in them. These (barriers) include lack of social support, previous sedentary habits, competing priorities, (in)accessibility and apathy, social influences (valuing interaction with peers, social awkwardness, encouragement from others, dependence on professional instruction); physical limitations (pain or discomfort, concerns about falling, comorbidities); competing priorities; access difficulties (environmental barriers, affordability); personal benefits of physical activity (strength, balance and flexibility, self-confidence, independence, improved health and mental well-being); and motivation and beliefs (apathy, irrelevance and inefficacy, maintaining habits).
Strategies to enhance participation in physical activity among older people must include (1) raising awareness of the benefits and minimizing the perceived risks of physical activity and (2) improving the environmental and financial access to physical activity opportunities.
The body is designed for movement. Just a little more movement can be beneficial. The minimum requirements for movement, per the CDC, are weekly inputs of 150 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity and 2 days of muscle strengthening activity, according to the current Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans. Yet, some physical activity is better than none. Adults who sit less and do any amount of moderate-to-vigorous intensity physical activity gain something toward the minimum of health benefits.