ROCHESTER, Minn. -- A sedentary lifestyle is a common cause of obesity (http://www.
Physical inactivity affects the health not only of many obese patients, but also people of normal weight, such as workers with desk jobs, patients immobilized for long periods after injuries or surgery, and women on extended bed rest (http://www.
When deconditioned people try to exercise, they may tire quickly and experience dizziness or other discomfort, then give up trying to exercise and find the problem gets worse rather than better.
"I would argue that physical inactivity is the root cause of many of the common problems that we have," Dr. Joyner says (http://www.
Several chronic medical conditions are associated with poor capacity to exercise, including fibromyalgia (http://www.
Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Dallas (http://www.
If physical inactivity were treated as a medical condition itself rather than simply a cause or byproduct of other medical conditions, physicians may become more aware of the value of prescribing supported exercise, and more formal rehabilitation programs that include cognitive and behavioral therapy would develop, Dr. Joyner says.
For those who have been sedentary and are trying to get into exercise, Dr. Joyner advises doing it slowly and progressively.
"You just don't jump right back into it and try to train for a marathon," he says. "Start off with achievable goals and do it in small bites."
There's no need to join a gym or get a personal trainer: build as much activity as possible into daily life. Even walking just 10 minutes three times a day can go a long way toward working up to the 150 minutes a week of moderate physical activity the typical adult needs, Dr. Joyner says.
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VIDEO ALERT: A video interview with Dr. Joyner is available for journalists to download on the Mayo Clinic News Network. (http://newsnetwork.