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  • Writer's pictureDarrick Payne

Are You the Typical Lazy American?

Or do you want to be an active and healthy American?


According to numerous studies and polls, the general population is in a scary phase of poor health and bad habits. Our modernized industrial world leaves the majority of people lacking for healthy activities, with an overwhelming and alarming number of people falling into the sedentary and inactive group. And it is not only sitting in front of a computer or tv that is the cause, but other seemingly innocuous lifestyle choices.


For instance, a recent poll suggests that only 2% of Americans will pass up an escalator ride in lieu of stairs. And another shows that the majority of people will circle a parking lot for a parking space close to their destination rather than park in an empty spot that requires more walking. The Transportation Research Board even outlines that the maximum walking distance for retail customers is only 300 to 600 feet. They have studied the psychology behind how to distribute parking spaces, and have determined that most people won't actually walk further than that! I find that both frightening and sad.


These things only reaffirm what we have been seeing for decades - the slow, deterioration of the healthy, active adult into the unhealthy and often overweight or obese American. We have left behind the jobs that require hard work and instead find ourselves living a more leisurely and comfortable lifestyle, with prolonged periods of sitting and inactivity. And we have coupled this with a poor Western diet, filled with empty calories, highly-processed foods, and inadequate nutrients.


The results do not bode well for us. And that is why I challenge you. I challenge you to take control of your health. Don't rely on pharmaceuticals to save you or to simply mask your symptoms. Don't rely on the government to take care of you when you are older, or even your family members. Don't think that your poor decisions are not affecting your health and longevity. Stop putting things off until you have more time or more motivation - you may just run out of time if you keep procrastinating.


Instead, take the stairs. A lot. A BMC Public Health study this year correlates daily stair climbing to a decreased risk of metabolic syndrome (a combination of high blood sugar, high blood pressure, increased lipids like cholesterol, and abdominal obesity). Another 2021 study from McMaster University shows that stair climbing offers significant benefits for both the cardiovascular system and our muscles. There are numerous studies showing the beneficial nature of taking the stairs, too many to cite here. But I will mention that others have tied stair climbing to a decreased risk of stroke, to improved cognitive performance, and to improving lung function.


But this isn't only about taking the stairs. The challenge is to be more active.

  • Walk instead of standing on the moving sidewalk.

  • Choose the stairs over the elevator or escalator.

  • Park farther away and walk. Then carry out your groceries or shopping bags instead of using a cart.

  • Stand up more while you are working - I have a great desk that is height adjustable so that I am not always just sitting down.

  • Walk around when you are on a phone call.

  • Choose to do some exercises while you watch your favorite show, even if you simply do some push ups and crunches ( I have weights around and incorporate those too).

  • Go for a walk in the evening to get some exercise but also relax a bit in nature; this has also shown to help people sleep better.

  • Walk or bike to the store if that's an option. Or to your friend's house, or to see family members. Essentially, don't always take your car.

These are really some pretty easy things to do that can have a huge impact on your health. These types of little changes can add up to a lot more calories burned. The key is to challenge yourself and to decide to make good choices. And thus to live stronger, live better, and live longer.


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