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Health & Lifestyle

With Physical Activity, No Need to Be an Olympian

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Uganda's Stephen Kiprotich celebrates after crossing the finish line to win gold in the men's marathon at the 2012 Summer OlympicsUganda's Stephen Kiprotich celebrates after crossing the finish line to win gold in the men's marathon at the 2012 Summer Olympics
Uganda's Stephen Kiprotich celebrates after crossing the finish line to win gold in the men's marathon at the 2012 Summer Olympics
Uganda's Stephen Kiprotich celebrates after crossing the finish line to win gold in the men's marathon at the 2012 Summer Olympics


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This is the VOA Special English Health Report.
Watching the Olympics probably made some people feel a little guilty about not exercising. The truth is, if physical inactivity were a sport, a lot of us could give a gold-medal performance. Or should we say non-performance?
To mark the London Olympics, the Lancet, a British medical journal, published a series of papers about this problem. Public health experts say physical inactivity is the world's fourth leading cause of death. They estimate that inactivity plays a major part in six to ten percent of deaths from non-communicable diseases. These include conditions like heart disease, diabetes, and colon and breast cancer.
I. Min Lee at the Harvard School of Public Health worked with a team that studied inactivity. She says the findings are conservative and may even underestimate the problem.
I. MIN LEE: "Physical inactivity is harmful to health, as harmful as far as deaths are concerned as smoking."
The researchers compared data on physical inactivity with disease rates in one hundred twenty-two countries.
I. MIN LEE: "So when we did our analysis, we looked at increased risk of disease after taking into account other health habits that might be associated with physical activity. For example, we know that if you are active, you probably smoke less. Additionally we factored out obesity, independent of the fact that active people also tend to weigh less."
Harold Kohl from the University of Texas School of Public Health also worked on the special report. He says physical inactivity should be recognized as a global epidemic.
HAROLD KOHL: "We have to realize that high income countries are the most inactive around the world, but low to middle income countries are not going to be far behind as things change, as their economies improve and their people rely more on the improvements that basically engineer physical activity out of our daily lives."
Harold Kohl points to campaigns that continue to reduce smoking and alcohol use. He says the time has come to target physical inactivity as a major threat to public health.   
HAROLD KOHL: "It is not just telling someone to go out and be physically active, but how we rely on the transportation sector or how our cities or neighborhoods are designed, how crime can be minimized to help people become more physically active in their neighborhoods, simply walking to the store or walking down and being outside with friends and family and so forth. These broader environmental issues are becoming much clearer in terms of their effects."
I. Min Lee agrees -- and she challenges people to do one hundred fifty minutes a week of moderately intense exercise.
I. MIN LEE: "Anything you can do is great! Even if you don't reach that 150 minutes a week, a little is better than none and more is better than a little."
She plans to return every four years -- just like the Olympics -- to give a progress report to tell us how the world is doing.
And that's the VOA Special English Health Report. How much physical activity do you get? Are you a couch potato or a gym rat, someone who just sits and watches TV or someone who continually works out at the gym? Tell us at voaspecialenglish.com. And if you listen to music when you exercise, give us your nominations for the best workout songs. I'm.
Contributing: Rosanne Skirble
This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
by: Ibtehal
09/07/2012 7:12 AM
I do exercise and yoga 4 times a week , half hour a day . I feel better ,relax and lovely after physical activity , and I do my best at work .

by: Marcol from: Brazil
08/23/2012 2:46 PM
I'd like to help my wife. Physical inactivity is her main sport. She has heart and diabetes problem. She deserves a non-performance gold-medal. I hope God can help us!

by: Jow Singsin from: Thailand
08/20/2012 10:14 AM
This problem sound not so serious, in fact this is the problem of time. If you continue to accumulate fat in your body, when the time come that it is too late today anything. There will be some luck to some people that they can be recovered from that fat illness, but it is the least of the chance. Most of the people may be ended up with taking medicine for the rest of their life due to diabetes. As I have mentioned at first that it's sound no serious problem but this matter require discipline and what you behave to control your eager for eating.


by: boundless love from: Hue,Vietnam
08/18/2012 2:43 AM
people say that "Health is gold".That is really true.Through it,we had better do exercise regularly every day.For example,in the morning we spend about 30minutes going jogging.i know some people are too busy to do it,but i hope everyone will do it well.i wish people always keep fit to do anything successfully!

by: Alina Ilyina from: Russia
08/17/2012 7:31 PM
I do morning execises almost each morning. It takes me about 20 minutes

I know I should exercise more, but I don't have time

by: KIKA from: SPAIN
08/17/2012 6:01 PM
I´m not a gym rat because I prefer to go out to make some sport. In fact, I´m going running in 15minutes. I really like sports and I enjoy going to the mountain for trekking in my spare time. I recommend you to do it.

by: Evan from: Vienam
08/17/2012 5:11 PM
I think some dance songs are effictive for exercising

by: Igor from: Brazil
08/16/2012 11:36 AM
Nowadays, I'm swimming four times a week. I think it is enough. And, beyond that, I'm doing yoga classes twice a week to improve my mind control.

I agree with the text. People should exercise more in order to avoid some problems. But, the cities, especially the big ones, should be prepared to contribute with those ones who want to exercise in the neighborhood.


In Response

by: kika from: spain
08/17/2012 6:06 PM
hi Igor ! I live in Madrid(Spain) and we have lots of parks to make some sport. There is a huge park in the city centre(El Retiro) where you can run,walk,skate..We are the ones who have to have the will power. I hope my english is good..

by: Tran Binh from: Hai Phong,VietNam
08/16/2012 10:30 AM
I agree that physical activity is good for our health. if every body play some sports we will reduce crime.

In Response

by: Svetlana from: Russia
09/01/2012 7:34 AM
I want to add. Be active is cheaper. You can get a bicycle or walk instead of a car. You can walk with children to the park instead watching TV and eat pop-corn.

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