Essay on Exercise and Disease Prevention

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Exercise and Disease Prevention

Over the past century we have become increasingly sedentary due to the technical advancements of today's world. Ironically, while machines and improvements in transportation and communication have made our lives easier, studies show that the decline in our physical activity associated with these advancements plays a large role in the decline of our health.

A Surgeon General's report (Anonymous,1996) addresses the finding that continuous and consistent physical activity is proven to enhance longevity and the quality of life for people of all ages. Furthermore, the report notes that although it has been recognized for years that regular physical activity can lead to substantial health benefits, 60% of American adults are not regularly active, and 25% of the adult population are not active at all. Paffenbarger (1996) states that physical fitness and exercise can reduce the risk of diseases such as heart disease, non-insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus, some cancers, osteoarthritis and osteoporosis, and obesity. Studies also show that exercise can promote psychological well-being and reduce feelings of anxiety and depression (

The effects of exercise on health risk factors for a few days or weeks may not strike a person as significant, however, physical inactivity over a long period of time, say twenty years, adds up. For example, walking for one hour a day for five days burns about 2000 calories a week. Over a course of a year, a person performing this level of activity would burn about 96,000 calories (http;// The negative effects of physical inactivity do add up and influence our health and our lives....

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...for Exercise and Sport, 67(3), 48-61.

McNamee, D. (1996). A Change in Lifestyle May Prevent Cancer. The Lancet, 348, 1436.

Murray, F. (1994). Weight Management: The Key to Disease Prevention. Better Nutrition for Today's Living, 56(7), 44.

Paffenbarger, R. (1996). Physical Activity and Fitness for Health and Longevity. Research Quarterly for Exercise and Sports, 67(3), 11-30.

Pekka,O. (1995). Descriptive Epidemiology of Health-Related Physical Activity and Fitness. Research Quarterly for Exercise and Sports, 66(4), 303-315.

Shute, N. (1996, December 16). Exercise an Ally in Cold/Flu Battle. Denver Post, pF1.

Simon, H. (1992). Can You Run Away from Cancer? Havard Health Letter, 17(5), 5

Shaping Up. (1993 May). The Saturday Evening Post; Indianapolis, 24.

Welch, G., &Clark, J. (1995). The Other Arthritis. American Fitness, 13(5), 24-28.

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