January 31, 2015 22:35 UTC

Health & Lifestyle

With Physical Activity, No Need to Be an Olympian

Read, listen and learn English with this story. Double-click on any word to find the definition in the Merriam-Webster Learner's Dictionary.

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
x
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

Multimedia

Play or download an MP3 of this story
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
Comments
     
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.

Jow


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.

Cheers!

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.

Learn with The News

  • Audio Former Secretaries of State Discuss National Security

    Henry Kissinger, George Schultz and Madeleine Albright talked about Islamic militants, immigration and the crisis in Ukraine. Protesters interrupted the event and tried to arrest Kissinger. They accused him of wrongdoing in South America, Vietnam and other countries. | As It Is More

  • Students learning computer skills on a mobile bus in Nairobi, Kenya

    Video Mobile Computer Lab Helps Thousands in Nairobi Slum

    A non-profit group is working to give Kenya’s poorest citizens access to information and technology. The Craft Silicon Foundation provides people who live in Kawangware a computer lab and computer training classes on a mobile bus. The bus has 12 computers powered by the sun through solar panels. More

  • NASA's Dawn spacecraft heading toward the dwarf planet Ceres.   (Image - NASA/JPL-Caltech)

    Video NASA Spacecraft, Dawn, Close to Reaching a 'Dwarf Planet'

    Dawn is set to reach the dwarf planet Ceres in March. Scientists will use the spacecraft to gather clues about whether the distant, ice-covered object may have once had conditions to support life as we know it. Dawn, which left Earth seven years ago, will also explore another small planet, Vesta. More

  • Patriots Football

    Audio The Epidemic of Cheating in Sports

    Throughout time, cheating in sports has caused debate and dispute. Athletes often do whatever it takes to win in competition. Some take drugs that are meant to improve their performance, such as steroids. These might make them run faster or hit a baseball harder. More

  • freedom house vid

    Video Freedom House: Democratic Ideals Threatened Around the World

    The rights group Freedom House has reported a general decline in political and civil rights around the world last year. The group said its measure of international freedom has dropped in each of the past nine years. It added that democratic ideals are now under the greatest threat in 25 years More

Featured Stories

  • Hillary Rodham Clinton, left, joins U.S. Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, D-N.H., and Gov. Maggie Hassan, D-N.H., during a get out the vote rally.

    Audio Why Do So Few US Women Hold Top Jobs?

    A new study by the Pew Research Center found that the public says women are just as qualified as men to hold top positions in business and politics. But women are still not equally represented in those top jobs. Most Americans think they will see a woman president in their lifetimes. More

  • AFC Championship Football

    Superbowl Sunday: The Patriots, the Seahawks and Katy Perry, Too

    The National Football League championship game is hugely popular with sports fans and television advertisers. Tens of millions of people watch the game for the competitive play and for the funny commercials broadcast throughout. Many also enjoy the halftime show. This year Katy Perry will entertain. More

  • NYC subway art

    Video New York's 'Underground Museum' Pleases Passersby

    For the past thirty years, artists have been asked to create works of art for New York’s huge subway and train system. The works often relate to city life or to the neighborhood of a station. Some people call it New York’s “underground art museum," with over 250 pieces of original artwork. More

  • agridrone

    Video French Farmers Are Using Drones to Examine Their Crops

    It used to be mostly the military that used small, unpiloted aircraft, called “drones.” The little planes were very costly. But as they have dropped in price more people have begun to use them. Rescue workers and farmers are among the new users. The drones save money and time. More

  • Video Is There a Better Way to Track Passenger Planes?

    New technology could help to more closely follow passenger airplanes, and find them when they crash; international group to meet next month to discuss changes. Airline industry leaders and regulators want to improve airplane safety. They want better, more dependable tracking devices. More

Practice Your Writing

Confessions of an English Learner blog
Confessions of an English Learner blog

 

 

 

Tell us About Our Programs