Recreation and Sports


Are you physically active? You may have more reason to be after reading these startling statistics on physical inactivity from the World Health Organization (WHO).

According to WHO, physical inactivity is the fourth leading risk factor in global mortality. It is only outstripped by high blood pressure (13 percent) and tobacco use (9 percent) and carries the same level of risk as high blood glucose (6 percent).

In fact some 3.2 million people die each year because they are not active enough, WHO says. Globally, one in three adults is not active enough.

And physical inactivity is on the rise in many countries, adding to the burden of noncommunicable diseases, such as cardiovascular diseases, cancer and diabetes, and affecting general health worldwide.

WHO notes that people who are insufficiently active have a 20 percent to 30 percent increased risk of death compared to people who engage in at least 30 minutes of moderate intensity physical activity on most days of the week.

Another interesting takeaway: in high-income countries, 41 percent of men and 48 percent of women were insufficiently physically active, compared to 18 percent of men and 21 percent of women in low-income countries.

Low or decreasing physical activity levels often correspond with a high or rising gross national product, WHO reports.

The decline in physical activity is partly due to inaction during leisure time and sedentary behavior on the job and at home. Likewise, an increase in the use of “passive” modes of transportation also contributes to physical inactivity.

It’s important not to confuse physical activity with exercise.

WHO defines physical activity as any bodily movement produced by skeletal muscles that requires energy expenditure – including activities undertaken while working, playing, carrying out household chores, traveling and engaging in recreational pursuits.

Exercise (a subset of physical activity) is planned structured, repetitive, and aims to improve or maintain one or more components of physical fitness.

So what do we need to do to reduce our risk?

For children and adolescents WHO recommends 60 minutes of moderate to vigorous intensity activity per day.

For adults (18+), the recommendation is 150 minutes of moderate-intensity activity per week.

Check out I.I.I. facts and statistics on mortality risk.

A story on sidewalk rage is all the rage right now, thanks to the Wall Street Journal.

Do you get impatient in a crowded area? Bump into others, or act in a hostile manner by staring or giving them a mean face when they walk too slowly? Have you ever thought about punching slow walking people in the back of the head?

If so, you could be suffering from Pedestrian Aggressiveness Syndrome, otherwise known as “sidewalk rage”.

There’s even a Facebook group called “I Secretly Want To Punch Slow Walking People in the Back of the Head” with more than 15,000 members. The “I Secretly Want To Trip Fast Walking People” Facebook group has only 62 members, however.

At its most extreme sidewalk rage can signal a psychiatric condition known as “intermittent explosive disorder,” the Wall Street Journal reports.

Researchers are now looking into what triggers such rage and what that experience is like according to a scientist at Colorado State University quoted in the story who studies anger and road rage.

But what about distracted pedestrians?

I think we can all relate to the challenges of sharing the sidewalk with cell phone talkers or text and walkers.

Finally, the WSJ notes that people slow down when distracted by other activities too. It cites a 2006 study by the City of New York and the NYC Department of City Planning that showed smokers walk 2.3 percent slower than the average walker’s 4.27 feet per second, while cell phone talkers walk 1.6 percent slower.

A recent New York Times article looked at the growing dangers of distracted pedestrians.

The problem has prompted lawmakers in several states to introduce legislation that would ban the use of cell phones, iPods or other electronic devices by people running or walking on the street or sidewalk.

Maybe it’s not just anger management, but electronic gadget management – on the roads and sidewalks – that we all need.

Check out I.I.I. information on distracted driving.

Thinking of taking to the water this summer? Don’t forget boat insurance. I.I.I. has the info you need to keep you afloat.

Boats