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You! Off Your Duff and On Your Bike!

Posted 08/11/2010

Yes, I mean you. You were the one complaining about your weight, right? Yeah, I thought it was you.

Sgt. Edelberg here. First, stand up. You’ve been sitting at that laptop too long. You’re becoming one with your chair. Too much Facebook, too many emails.

Here are the facts: The American Cancer Society just published a study that you need to read. Read? Memorize!

This research began in 1992 with 53,440 men and 69,776 women. That’s right–123,216 people and they sent them questionnaires for the next 18 years.

Result? Sitting shortens your life. Period.

Women who reported sitting six or more hours a day had a 37% greater chance of dying of any cause than those reporting three hours a day or less. For men, it was 18%. In terms of total physical inactivity, women who were “completely inactive” (meaning they sat plus did minimal other physical activity) had a 94% greater mortality than active women. For men, 48%. Them are the numbers. Read ‘em and weep.

Again! Up while you read the rest of this.

Remember a few weeks ago when I reported that virtually all women gain weight between 30 and 50, even the health club crowd?

A fresh study shows you can slow down that weight gain a lot (in addition to eating less, of course). Get your Schwinn out of the storage locker, dust it off, fill up the tires, and use it every day.

That’s right. In last week’s Archives of Internal Medicine, the title of the article pretty much says it all: “Bicycle Riding, Walking and Weight Gain in Premenopausal Women.” We already knew that daily brisk walking (30 minutes or more) helps with both weight loss and keeping lost weight off. But I mean brisk walking, cadet, not your stop-and-smell-the-flowers stroll. Brisk–use your arms! Faster!

So now we know bike riding is just as good as brisk walking. The study tracked a large population–more than 18,000 women–for 16 years in the Netherlands (a strange land of windmills, marijuana shops, and bike lanes), where 27% of the populations bikes regularly, and 55% of that group are women. (In the US, 0.5% bicycle and, of these, 27% are women).

You know where this is going. The regular bikers gained very little weight while those who didn’t bike, didn’t walk much, and weren’t particularly active slowly drifted toward resembling Michelin women or floats in a Macy’s parade.

So you–get up, walk fast, head to your bike now (and please pull a helmet over your curly locks)!


Leave a Comment

  1. Anonymous says:

    I just wanted to respond that this week’s letter on biking was great–I shared it with all my friends. I work as a bicycling advocate, and believe it or not, I fell off the biking wagon for a long time. This year, I vowed to resume my old biking habit by biking to work EVERY DAY during the summer. Though it’s been an almost unbearably hot summer, I’m proud to say I’ve only skipped the ride twice so far, logging 5 miles a day each way to and from work–10 miles a day!

    The good news? I’m already sleeping better, my legs are firming up nicely, and it’s obvious I’m gaining cardio-vascular improvement: I can push faster and harder on the ride now than just 8 weeks ago! Biking is so easy–the body seems to adapt to it very quickly. Unfortunately, I still spend 6-8 hours a day on my butt in front of a computer–I guess I need to work on reducing that. It’s hard when your job requires it, but I’ll give it a try!

    Thanks for the great advice, I’m so glad to be part of the WholeHealth community!

  2. Sherry Stroud says:

    Thanks Sgt. Edelberg. Thumbs up!!!! :- )

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