Mon, Sep 30, 2013 - Page 3 News List

Physical inactivity a leading cause of death

By Alison Hsiao  /  Staff reporter

The Health Promotion Administration has cautioned against not exercising, something that has been identified by the WHO as the fourth-leading risk factor for global mortality, after a government survey found that nearly 70 percent of Taiwanese over 13 years of age do not exercise regularly.

According to a Ministry of Education survey, only 30.4 percent of people perform 30 minutes of aerobic exercise at least three times a week.

Of those who do not exercise regularly, 52.1 percent cited a lack of time as the main reason, 24.6 percent mentioned fatigue from work and 18.5 percent cited laziness.

The administration said the WHO has identified physical inactivity accounts for about 6 percent of deaths globally. Physical inactivity is also linked to between 21 percent and 25 percent of breast cancers and colon cancers, 27 percent of diabetes, and about 30 percent of heart disease.

Adequate levels of physical activity help reduce the risk of disease, depression and bone fractures, the HPA said, adding that studies have shown that 15 minutes of exercise a day can increase life expectancy by three years.

For those who say they are too busy to exercise, the administration recommends effective use of their daily activities such as walking, using stairs or biking, and breaking the 30 minutes of activity into smaller chunks of time throughout the day.

Those simply too lazy or consider themselves too busy or tired after work to exercise are reminded by the HPA that exercising can lower the risk of various diseases and induce endorphin release, which has many added benefits such as lower stress and improved quality of sleep.

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