Fitness Friday: Increasing physical activity

Author: WINK News
Published: Updated:

FORT MYERS, Fla. – Low fitness levels are responsible for more deaths each year than smoking, diabetes and obesity combined.

Dr. Rick Douglass and Dr. Morgan Hinds joined us in the studio with some simple exercises you can do do improved your fitness level.


Which of these kills more Americans each year?

  1. Smoking?
  2. Obesity?
  3. Diabetes?
  4. Low Level of fitness?

If you polled the general public you would likely get a fair number of hands raised for each of the above, in reality, the answer is #4, a low level of fitness kills more Americans each year than any of the above. In fact, if you combine the number of Americans killed by smoking, diabetes and obesity, which Dr. Karim Kahn, a Canadian sports physician and editor of the British Journal of Sports Medicine, has termed “smokadiabesity”, they still kill less Americans per year than a low level of fitness.

The Problem

  • Physical Inactivity kills 8 times as many people as obesity and 2 times as many people as smoking. The great news is that these deaths are highly preventable. Part of the overall mission of FYZICAL is to create a positive change in healthcare delivery. Physical Therapists play an important role in this mission through education to create a shift in the public mindset from seeking a pill or a medication for every thing that ails you to instead, exercise prescription.

The Solution

  • If all inactive persons were to increase their activity level to 150 minutes of physical activity per week, deaths due to low levels of fitness would be reduced by 16%! This equates to just 20 to 30 mins of increased physical activity per day. Just think, that leaves you 23 1/2 hours to spend however you like!

Incorporating Fitness into your Daily Routine:

Sitting at your Desk

  • Breathe!- Oxygen equals energy! Sit with your back straight, Inhale deeply, pulling in as much air as you can, using your diaphragm, then exhale, fully but not forcefully, simply let your breath go, repeat, inhales and exhales, 30 to 40 times, at your own pace, on the last round, exhale and then hold that exhale until your body feels the need to breathe, finally, inhale deeply and hold for ten seconds. You are changing your chemistry!
  • Sit, reach and Turn! – Now, Incorporate some movement with that breathing! Sit and Reach with head turns- sit tall, with your right hand, reach up and back as you turn your head to the right and inhale, return your arm and your head to the start position as you exhale, repeat ten times on each side. The tissues in our body thrive on this movement, then tendons, the ligaments, the discs in our spine, they need this movement to live!
  • Spine lengthening!- Now lets work on extending our spines, spreading nutrition to the cartilage in our joints at each level, decompressing those discs that get compressed all day, palms together in front of your chest, take a deep breath in using your diaphragm, expanding your lungs, oxygen is energy! now reach overhead, lengthen your spine by reaching up with your shoulder blades, and exhale, let that breath go, repeat ten times.
  • Now you are fully energized and ready to go back to work, repeat this routine anytime you start to feel groggy or your attention span falters, cue yourself, instead or reaching for your phone, reach for the sky!

Other ideas:

  • March in place- at the stoplight, bring one knee up to your outstretched hands, push them together, alternate legs, repeat 20 times
  • Thigh squeezes- place two fists, side by side, between your knees, squeeze and release, repeat twenty times
  • Thighs apart- put one hand outside of each thigh, push your hands and thighs together, repeat twenty times
  • Trunk rotations- sitting with your arms across your chest, turn your right elbow in to the seat behind you, repeat twenty times and then repeat on the left

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