Mt. Vernon Register-News

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December 10, 2012

Inactivity isn't just lack of exercise

(Continued)

In addition, most people set up their homes to be as comfy as possible, to maximize down time and get plenty of relaxation and sit-down time.

In short, inactivity is the nation’s biggest health problem, even among the other serious diseases and ailments the United States currently has.

Not just looks

What might be called "fitness porn" is to blame for some of Americans' antipathy towards fitness.

Dr. S. Robert Licther, a professor and researcher at George Mason University, conducts studies on the societal effects of the entertainment and news media and he said that many publications, including fitness magazines, focus on body appearance and looking good, instead of urging people to stay active because of good health.

This is particularly truth of men’s fitness magazines, Lichter said, as there is an excessive focus on exercise instead of promoting basic physical activity, which doesn’t have to be boring calisthenics or traditional work-out routines that people get bored with  quickly.

“It’s all about looking good,” said Licther. “That’s the one area where women and men’s magazine look alike. There are reasons that looking good is a good thing [including] quite frankly, getting women. Not that I’m against propagating the race but being healthy while you do it is a good thing.”

So just what will it take for adults and children to incorporate physical fitness in their everyday lives without force or reminder?

The panelists, which included an ex-NFL player as well as scientists and researchers, agreed that schools, federally-funded programs and local initiatives have to get the message out that physical activity is different from exercise, and that just plain old continuous movement on an everyday basis will provide get the physical activity that you need in most cases.

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