It’s a good thing you live an active lifestyle! Exercise can reduce your risk of developing heart disease, certain cancers, dementia, and other diseases of aging. But what most people don’t know is 16% of North Americans will die from low fitness / sedentary lifestyle. That's more than the 14% of people who will die from “smokerdiabesity” (smoking, diabetes, and obesity all combined).
If exercise is so good for us, why are so many people failing to exercise regularly? And how can we get them to exercise by choice? Incentives work in the short term. That is, employees who get a discount on their health insurance premium will initiate an exercise program. But in the long term, people maintain an exercise program if it gives them pleasure, makes them feel good about themselves, improves their mood, and offers friendship.
If you are exercising just to lose weight, think again. What happens when you reach your weight goal? You'll still need to keep exercising to maintain that fat loss, so you had better start a program you are interested in enjoying for the rest of your life!
Thanks to ACSM's Exercise is Medicine campaign, doctors are now being encouraged to prescribe exercise to their overfat, underfit, (pre)diabetic clients, telling them how often, how hard, and how long to exercise. This written prescription has been shown to help improve exercise compliance.