The sedentary population hates us. Gone are the days when it was OK for them to lead couch potato lifestyles. Ten to 20 years ago, exercise was more of an individual choice. Those of us who chose to be physically active did so because it made us look and feel good. But those who didn’t, hey, it was up to them to decide what kind of lifestyle they chose to live, right? Not anymore. Each week, the media reports on some new study touting theessential benefits of exercise, and (sometimes) discounting the wonder drugs that take the place of it. Today, we know that a physically active lifestyle is good for us because it keeps us alive longer, and healthy while we are alive. But even more important, we know that exercise is good for us because it takes an enormous monetary burden off society. The disease consequences of living a couch potato lifestyle don’t just affect the sedentary, they affect us all.
That seemed to be the overlying message at the ACSM Health and Fitness Summit, held April 10-13 in Orlando, at which the keynote address was aptly titled “The Health of a Nation is the Wealth of a Nation.” ACSM has done an excellent job with its summit over the years by covering a vast array of health and fitness topics that tie together the fitness and medical communities. It’s no secret that medical doctors get scanttraining about the preventive role that fitness plays in medicine, but that is beginning to change. Through its various organizational activities and published position statements, ACSM is spreading the message to the medical community that physical activity is part of the healthcare continuum. More frequently, we are seeing study results that prove that exercise prevents most types of illness, including heart disease, high blood pressure, osteoporosis, type 2 diabetes, and the list goes on.
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