Did you know that your daily commute could impact your health? That’s the message of a recently released University of Illinois study that links frequent car use with the climbing obesity rates in this country.

“There is no doubt that we are a car-centric society,” says Chris Ranes, a personal trainer at Fitness Ranes Training Studio in Honolulu, HI. “We drive everywhere, even distances that could be easily reached by walking. That’s just part of our lifestyle.”

What makes the problem even worse, Ranes observes, is that we often pick up a meal at a fast food drive-thru, and eat it while we drive.

“We’re eating a high-calorie meal while sitting in the car,” he says. “Not only that, but we also bank and pick up our prescriptions at a drive-thru window, which means we hardly ever get out of the vehicle and walk anywhere, so we don’t burn all these calories we take in. This behavior ultimately leads to obesity.”

Not surprisingly, the United States has the highest number of obese people in the world; currently, one in three Americans suffers from obesity, defined as 30 or more pounds over a healthy weight.

“Obesity is dangerous because it can lead to type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and many other serious health conditions,” Ranes points out. “Of course, car alone cannot be blamed for these alarming statistics. There are other contributing factors at play, such as poor eating habits and sedentary lifestyle.”

Ranes says that for people who spend hours every day driving  – or sitting anywhere without much movement – it is crucial to pack in a heart-pumping, calorie-burning workout into their schedule.

To stay healthy and fit, U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommend at least 30 minutes of moderately intensive activity five days a week, as well as muscle-strengthening exercises at least twice a week. Unfortunately, studies show that as many as 60 percent of Americans don’t get the recommended amount of physical activity, and over 25 percent are not active at all.

How do you integrate exercise into your busy schedule?

Ranes’s suggestions:

Use your feet: “Instead of driving, walk (or cycle) to your destination and back. The key is moving fasting enough to get your heart rate up. If you choose walking, remember such common-sense precautions as low-heel, flexible-sole, well-fitting shoes.”

Compound exercises “are time-efficient muscle builders that work several muscle groups at one time. One example is a squat, which works many muscles in the lower body and core. A fitness professional can show you some effective, yet time-saving moves.”

“The important thing is to change your sedentary habits into an active lifestyle,” Ranes adds. “And that is one piece of advice you should not take sitting down!”

Submitted by Fitness Ranes Training Studio – www.fitnessranes.com

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