We’re all busy, but we’re also more sedentary than ever and this is a huge health problem. Journalist Peter Walker says there’s a ‘miracle pill’ that can change all that.
Historically, humans were active beings but with the rise in technology, we stopped relying on our legs to get us places and now, we like to have things come to us.
We’re living very busy lives, but we’re also more sedentary than ever; the requirement to work from home during lockdowns in a global pandemic exacerbated this problem to the point where there’s very little need for us to go even outside these days.
It’s harmful to our health, both physically and mentally, and we’re only just now waking up to that fact.
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Paul Walker is a political reporter for The Guardian, but he’s also written a book about the dangers of the inactive lives most of us are living right now. But he says the answer is super simple: what he calls the ‘miracle pill’ in his new book, The Miracle Pill: Why A Sedentary World Is Getting It All Wrong.
“The miracle pill is just being active,” he tells Body+Soul’s Healthy-Ish podcast.
“It’s about incidental exercise. So, you know, if you do go to the gym three times a week, or run four times a week, that’s completely brilliant… But the problem is that just not enough people managed to do that manage to fit it into their lives.”
Here are some stats to get an idea of how widespread this problem is: 55 percent of adults never take part in any sport; 20 percent don’t meet the minimum required level of activity for long-term health, while a staggering 80 percent of children don’t.
It’s a significant reason why conditions like Type 2 diabetes, certain kinds of cancer, heart disease and high blood pressure are so prevalent.
Walker says it’s estimated the global death toll due to inactive living is over five million. Yikes.
So what can we do about it? Walker says it’s about time to welcome incidental exercise back into our lives: ride your bike or walk to work, to the train or bus station where you catch your commute, or take the stairs rather than the lift.
“It’s really just being conscious about including more into your day,” says.
“If you can integrate it into your life, it’s almost like magic.”