Physical inactivity is the fourth leading cause of death across the world, according to a study published in The Lancet, a medical journal, putting its risk factor on par with smoking cigarettes and overeating. What’s worse, four out of five children ages 13 to 15 are just as inactive.
This inactivity is described as not participating in at least 30 minutes of moderate to vigorous activity a day, five times a week, and 20 minutes of vigorous activity, three times a week or some combination of the two.
If you’re not getting this much activity in your life, you’re not alone. Nearly 1.5 billion people ages 15 and older fall into this dangerous habit of “laziness,” causing experts to label it as a pandemic.
Still, there’s some hope left: the study also found that people become more active with age.
Change the cycle for you, your friends, family and children by making an effort to move around. Here are a few ways to make sure you get the proper allotment of activity each week.
Join a Gym
For many people this may be the most obvious and perhaps intimidating answer. However, it’s important to understand why it’s an obvious answer. Gyms open your opportunities for new and exciting activity outside of the typical cardio and weight lifting options. Use the gym to:
- Connect with other active people who you can workout with and learn from.
- Take group fitness classes, which are often more interesting and exciting, while being less intimidating if you’re new to the activity or gym.
- Have a place where you’re motivated to move. With so many people working out around you, it’s easier to stay active for a full 30 minutes.
Find a Hiking Club
Hiking is a great way to stay active because it offers stunning beauty and ignites a passion for exploring that you may not have otherwise tapped into. Find a local hiking group—MeetUp.com lists dozens in most locations—which will make it easier to stay motivated to follow through with your hiking plans. This also takes the work off your plate, as the organizer will plan and schedule each hike.
Make a Learning Bucket List
Learning something new is a great way to stay active. Make a bucket list of all the things you want to learn that will help you get moving too and start checking off the boxes. Consider:
- Dance Class
Remember, it’s important to incorporate both moderate and vigorous activity into your routine. If you take a course on gardening, be sure to include running or gym time in your schedule at least two to three times a week to get the full life-saving health benefits.