We Underestimate Exercise and Pay the Price

Greenwald & Gerke Realty Team

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December 19, 2019

“I walk three or four days a week” is the answer I often get when I ask members of my audiences to describe their exercise routine. Most Americans do even less. It’s no wonder that several studies reveal that the grip strength and running ability of young American men have declined considerably in a single generation. Barely one-fifth of adults get the often-recommended one hour of moderately intense physical activity most days of the week. Combined with our excessive intake of calories in the form of refined grains and sugars, this abandonment of the active lifestyle has resulted in the all-too-obvious epidemics of obesity and type two diabetes.

The cover story of the January 2019 Scientific American states it clearly “…humans require high levels of physical activity to be healthy.” Modern hunter-gatherers, who live the way their Stone Age ancestors did, walk an average of several miles a day, far more than the 10,000 steps that health-conscious Americans feel give them bragging rights. Any amount of walking, jogging or running benefits the heart and lungs but we also require activity that builds muscle and bone.

Resistance exercise using weights and machines mimics the activity that all humans performed until just a few generations ago: lifting, pushing and pulling without the benefit of labor-saving devices. Strenuous exercise does more than build muscle. It boosts immunity, strengthens bone, improves balance, promotes the growth of new brain cells and helps to limit fat accumulation. The amount of resistance exercise that we need is complicated and controversial but two sessions a week in which all major muscle groups are involved seem to be optimal, allowing for recovery between sessions and avoiding the soreness that results from too infrequent muscle stimulation. Age, body type and medical conditions can influence the type and intensity of exercise. A certified instructor is a valuable asset in designing an exercise routine that is safe, effective and practical.

Becoming more active doesn’t require a gym membership. Use the stairs instead of an elevator; park at the farthest corner of the lot; stand when you’re on the phone; use the farthest restroom at work; drop the kids off a half-mile from school and walk there with them; use a push mower. It’s not quite a hunter-gatherer lifestyle but it’s a start.


At Greenwald & Gerke, our team of agents focuses on serving those in their retirement years. Let us help you with your retirement real estate needs: (844) 782-9674.

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