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Infrequency of Exercise in Americans and Its Potential Dangers

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Infrequency of Exercise in Americans and its Potential Dangers

Elecia Black

MAT 540: Statistical Concepts for Research

Instructor Charles Edeki

October 7, 2013

The issue that was selected for this paper is the lack of exercise among Americans and the potential dangers that lack of exercise lead to. This issue was selected because lack of exercise is putting peoples’ health at risk as a nation. According to research studies, Americans do not exercise as often as they should. Reasons such as work, children, not having access to exercise facilities, and etc. have been given as to why this lack of exercise has occurred. However, many people have come to the conclusion that they do not exercise because they feel as if they do not have a reason to. And for this very reason, the American people are jeopardizing their health. This infrequency of exercise often leads to potential dangers such as obesity, high blood pressure, heart disease, diabetes and colon cancer to name a few. But, research shows that with more frequent exercise, these potential dangers can be reduced and promote a healthier America.
Statement of the Problem According to a study done by the US Department of Health and Human Services, regular physical activity reduces the risk of premature death and disability from a variety of conditions including heart disease, diabetes, and colon cancer. Some people are unaware of the fact that lack of exercise will bring about the above stated conditions. These conditions are not just caused by poor dieting. Because all of these conditions are on the rise in society, it is very important to get the proper knowledge of just what the benefits of exercise regularly will provided and how these benefits just might save a life.
Literature Review
A Gallup poll that was conducted in 2013 by the Gallup Healthways Well-Being Index revealed that Americans’ workout habits have backslid (Mendes, 2013). This study also indicated a pattern of percentages that showed the decrease in Americans’ frequent exercise as compared to the different months of the year. The percentage of Americans that were exercising frequently dropped each month in 2009; however, there were slight increases in 2010 and 2011. Nonetheless, most months in 2012, showed where more Americans were exercising more frequently than ever before. This uptick in frequent exercise last year coincided with warmer than usual temperatures, setting numerous weather records (Mendes, 2013). Monthly averages of frequent exercise in January 2012 were 49.1% as compared to 47.7% in 2013 during this same month. In February 2012 they were 51% and in February of 2013 they were 49.2%. March of 2012 and 2013 percentages were 53.3% and 51.2%. April 2012 percentage was 53.9% and April 2013 percentage was 52.4%. May 2012 was 55.2%, May 2013 was 54.0% and June of 2013 was 55.2% and June of 2013 was 53.8%. Because temperatures have returned to normal in most months in 2013, a smaller percentage of Americans have been less likely to exercise frequently in every month as compared to 2012 doing this same time frame. Whether exercise is frequently done in these months really isn’t the main focus. The main focus is getting exercise on a regular basis. The physical and psychological benefits of participating in regular physical activity are well established, yet more than 60% of the population in the USA do not take part in regular exercise, and approximately 25% of the adult population lead a sedentary life (“US Department of Health”, 1996).
To promote better knowledge and understanding of the importance of regular exercise, a number of models have been put forward. Prochaska and DiClemente’s (1983) Transtheoretical Model (TTM), commonly known as the Stages of Change model, is an electric model which focuses on the process of change, rather than determinants of health behaviour, to provide a framework for intervention. Originally introduced as a model of addictive behaviours, the TTM has been widely applied to different health behaviours including physical activity, smoking cessation, and healthy eating (Marshall & Biddle; Prochaska & Velicer, 1997; Sarkin et al., Spencer et al., 2002). This model has five stages of change which are the pre-contemplation, contemplation, preparation, action and maintenance stages. First, there was the pre-contemplation stage which was for people who had no plans of changing their physical activity routine. Second, was the contemplation stage where participants acknowledged the fact that they had no regular physical activity exercise routine; but they had thought about trying to implement an exercise program. However, no plans were put forward in order to initiate the change. In the preparation stage, which is the third stage; the participants planned to implement an exercise program in the near future. The fourth stage, the action stage, is where individuals change their daily routines in order to start a routine that would help to conquer their lack of exercise. Finally, there is he maintenance stage. In this stage, people consolidate the gains they have attained during the action stage and work to prevent relapse (Cropley et al.’s, 2003). The objective of the TTM Model was to help people who do not exercise regularly to become more physically active. The benefits of exercising regularly reduce the chances of developing health problems such as heart disease, diabetes, colon cancer and obesity. Once people have realized this, they then become more open to exercise in order to maintain good health.
Most people want to maintain good health so that they can live long and enjoyable lives. Heart disease, diabetes, colon cancer and obesity put living a long and enjoyable life at risk. There is one simple thing one can do every day to help deflect those problems and protect the body from damage and deterioration: exercise (Rodriguez, 2011). Exercise is a very important factor in starting and keeping good health. However, research also suggests a healthy diet to go along with exercise. Conclusion
This issue was selected because a lack of exercise is putting people’s health at risk as a nation. According to research studies, Americans do not as often as they should. Being unhealthy is not only a problem to the persons/people that it may affect; but it is a problem to the world as well. In the United States, estimates of the annual cost in lives lost have ranged from 200,000 to 300,000 (Hahn & Teutsch; Rothenberg & Marks, 2000; McGinnis, 1992; McGinnis & Foege, 1993; Mokdad & Marks; Stroup & Gerberding, 2004; Powell & Blair, 1994), and medical costs due to inactivity and its consequences are estimated at $76 billion dollars in 2000 (Macera & Wang, 2000). Lack of exercise in Americans has created many unhealthy conditions for people. At some point in most everyone’s lives, one or more of these conditions may develop. In order to hinder or possibly stop these conditions from becoming major health issues, people must be educated on the benefits of exercise/physical activities. For example, the Mayo Clinic seven benefits or regular physical activity are as follows: exercise controls weight, combats health conditions and disease, improves mood, boosts energy, promotes better sleep, puts the spark back into your sex life and can general be fun (Mayo Clinic, 2011). Recommendations from public health suggest that the American people should incorporate such physical activities as walking, climbing stairs and outside work in the yard or house. Joining a gym or exercise group or either exercising at home will also encourage people to want to start and maintain a regular exercise routine. This in turn will encourage people to want to exercise or at least consider it.
It is a recommendation by the CDC that adults need to get at least 150 minutes of “moderate-intensity aerobic activity” or 75 minutes of “vigorous-intensity aerobic activity every week or at least a combination of the two along with “muscle-strengthening activities” two or more days per week. Due to the increase of conditions such as heart disease, diabetes, colon cancer and obesity in the U.S., Americans need to exercise more frequently instead of decreasing the amount of time put into exercising on a regular basis (Mendes, 2013).
So, as one can see, it is very important to start and maintain exercise on a regular basis. Exercise decreases all of the above conditions and is generally good for the body. With exercise on a daily basis, Americans around the world will reap the benefits.

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