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At a time when the entire world’s attention is focused on sports and an active physical lifestyle – I’m talking, of course, about the Olympic games – doctors have highlighted the importance of avoiding an inactive lifestyle. This verdict is nothing new of course, we’ve known for years that to keep yourself fit and healthy, you need to exercise regularly. What’s been hammered into us through the media at the moment are the very serious consequences of leading a sedentary lifestyle.

A Worrying Study

Pamela Das of The Lancet staggered a series of articles in such a way that the climax of her research was released at the onset of the London 2012 Olympic Games. The bold claim has now been made that failing to exercise regularly and live healthily can be as detrimental to the human body as smoking. The point has also been stressed that an insufficiently-active lifestyle will lead to a massive increase in the risks of serious health conditions such as Type 2 diabetes, coronary heart disease, breast cancer and bowel cancer.

Worldwide, the number of deaths caused by lack of exercise is believed to be comparable to deaths caused by smoking – an estimated 5.3 million people per year.

Possible Bias

That’s not to say that these conclusions are definitive, however. The findings were gathered through a self-policed survey system across 122 countries – and of course not everyone is going to be completely honest about their personal habits and level of physical activity. The ongoing worldwide obesity crisis is also likely to contaminate the results – over 27% of children in the UK are now obese – and these figures will quite possibly have been influenced by these worrying statistics.

This seems an appropriate time to bring up the issue of exercise and healthy living, then, given the state of the worldwide population’s health and the heightened media awareness of sporting prowess. It is an unavoidable fact that in order to maintain optimal personal health, you must take part in some degree of physical activity. The Olympians that made us so proud this Summer could have never have achieved those heights without their careful training regimes and monitoring of diet and fluid intake.

How You Can Act

Of course, not everyone is an Olympic athlete – so not everyone needs to go overboard on exercise regimes or carefully note down their fluid consumption hourly on a fluid balance chart. But that doesn’t mean to say we shouldn’t go for a jog once in a while – or maybe a bike ride, or take the dog for a walk. Even a brisk ten-minute series of stretches and calisthenic exercises when you wake up in the morning can be a way of improving your health, without taking too much out of you or your day.

Fluid balance is an important factor to track, too – try to aim to consume between six and eight glasses of water daily. You might even choose to take a leaf out of those athletes’ books, and make the odd note on how well you’ve been keeping yourself hydrated with a fluid balance chart. It all contributes to your health and well-being.

Exercise, eating right and healthy fluid intake are excellent ways to fight off the dangers of a sedentary lifestyle. You may never be an Olympic competitor, shoulder to shoulder with the best athletes in the world, but everyone secretly wishes they were slimmer, more toned and more tucked, right? Why not take inspiration from the 2012 Games, and go for your own personal gold this year! Good luck!

This post was written by James Martin of Le West Ltd. Le West trade in medical equipment and supplies, such as stretchers, fluid balance charts and defibrillators. To read more, visit the Le West website: Le West Fluid Balance Chart

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