U.S. Is Sick-Change It with Chi
“Although the United States spends more on health care than any other nation, a growing body of research shows that Americans are in poorer health and live shorter lives than people in many other high-income countries.” – U.S. Health in International Perspective: Shorter Lives, Poorer Health, released by the National Research Council and the Institute of Medicine
In January 2013, the New York Times, LA Times, and NPR all reported on the pointed new study that shows that American health is in trouble…deeper trouble than most people knew – we’re at the bottom of the barrel compared to most countries with whom we should be on par.
American men had the lowest life expectancy and women the second lowest out of 17 wealthy countries. And, we’re sicker and have poorer health in general. Obesity and cardiovascular disease were two of the many culprits, claiming the lives of the poor and the wealthy in the U.S.
An analysis of the data can be found here.
If this is not a wake up call, I’m not sure what is.
A related study (International Difference in Mortality at Older Ages) states: Regular physical activity is thought to be among the most important lifestyle factors for the maintenance of health and prevention of premature disease and mortality.
The problem is obvious and so is the solution: we have to get people moving (too much time in our cars was one of the many concerns brought out in the study). Sitting is the new smoking; lack of movement means that you die younger and drastically lessens the quality of your life.
We know what to do: put on your running or walking shoes and go out the door. And bring your partner or neighbor along with you. However, it is not a one shot deal. You have to get out that door 3-6 times a week, year in and year out. The consistency required to get and stay healthy becomes derailed if you’re in pain or get injured. Learning to optimize the way you walk or run will help you stay on track. It is not about going fast or far, but about consistent, gentle exercise.
Tips to get moving:
- Choose a 20 minute walk over doing nothing. Once you choose to get up and get out the door, you may want to walk a little more and eventually you might want to run.
- Beginning runners: Run for 1 minute and walk for 2-3 minutes to start a safe running program. Over weeks increase the overall workout time, increase the time you run and decrease the time you walk.
- Never workout until you are exhausted or in pain. Your workouts should energize you, not deplete you.
- Practice the Chi focuses of relaxation, good posture and a strong core all day long.
- Make exercise a priority in your life.
See the new peer-reviewed ChiRunning study that shows that ChiRunning reduces impact and therefore the potential for injury. (Read about the study here)