Moderate fitness is the most powerful treatment to prevent disease. And, moderate fitness is easy to obtain. Just walk 20 minutes a day. People get very little extra benefit from more exercise than that! The graph shows moderate fitness lowers your risk of death by about two thirds — and the extra years you get will have better quality.
The benefit of moderate fitness exceeds that of not having the following conditions:
- high blood pressure
- high cholesterol
- family history of heart disease
So what worries you more? Being a couch potato or having any of those conditions? The couch potato is the worst. This is not to say you should continue smoking — it means you need to BOTH exercise AND stop smoking.
The average American watches 5 hours of TV per day and many think the lack of activity it causes increases the death rate. Just skip one TV show and walk instead to reverse the trend.
A good primary care provider should ask you about your level of exercise and fitness at every visit. A lack of fitness is the most severe health problem in the United States. Health providers almost always check you blood pressure when in fact your level of activity is more important — let’s keep this in perspective.
Here is an absolutely wonderful YouTube video about fitness: