Something caught my eye the other day that made me re-think retirement. It's a new study that says sitting around too much in one's spare time appears to increase the risk of dying. Now how's that for motivation to get up and get going.
This study was done through the American Cancer Society and followed some 120,000 adults. It found that those who sat more than six hours a day were significantly more likely to die within a 14-year period than those who sat less than three hours a day.
According to the researchers, sedentary time may be related to mortality risk because sitting may be associated with other unhealthy behaviors, like excessive eating. In addition, sitting too much could have adverse metabolic effects.
We already know that we are approaching an obesity epidemic in this country. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that one in three of us is obese. And more than two-thirds of us are considered overweight. And all that extra weight is tipping the scales when it comes to health care costs as well.
We've got to do something to turn things around, and anybody who's tried to lose weight knows it's not easy. But no matter the cost of the effort, dying early is not a good alternative. If you're retiring soon, make plans now to do something with your extra time besides watching TV. Volunteer during the week or join an exercise program. It's a wake-up call that we can't afford to ignore.
I bet you've seen them... the brigade of lunchtime walkers... dressed for the office except for the sneakers. Or maybe you've shopped at one of the new Farmers Markets that have popped up in downtown Louisville offering fresh fruits and vegetables. And just maybe- if you're the competitive type- you've been in a company sponsored Biggest Loser contest made popular by NBC's hit show.
It's not just fun and games though. It's an attempt by local government and our employers to encourage each one of us to take more responsibility for our own health. I mean... haven't you heard... health costs are through the roof.
And change is imperative for another reason. Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death in the U.S. claiming 2,300 lives every day. That's one death every 38 seconds. Kentucky is also the leader in the national cancer death rate. I don't know about you, but that's scary stuff.
So what can we do? Decide right now to take responsibility for your own health. And you don't have to do it alone. There's help out there even if you don't like the thought of exercise or giving up that pack of cigarettes.
Local companies are doing more than ever to help us get fit and stay that way. I went to a seminar recently where several human resources types talked about what their companies are doing to help their employees change bad health habits. Eon US and Ford both offer monetary incentives to employees who work to improve their health. For example, some offered a fairly substantial reduction in insurance rates for those who quit smoking. Money talks afterall.
Here at Norton Healthcare, I can go to yoga, an exercise class or a class on healthy cooking. I can even "Ride to Conquer Cancer," a rigorous bike ride to beat cancer and get fit all at the same time. Yes...it's hard to make those changes but it beats the alternative... a life shortened by disease that could have been prevented. Just think about it.
My friends laugh about it, My husband says "I told you so" and my children just ask "what did you expect!" Yes, six short months after deciding to retire, I'm un-retired.
But cut me a little slack. You don't do something 31 years and stop all of a sudden to clean closets and bake cookies. Not that there's anything wrong with that but at the end of those "days of leisure" I was bored to death. You know, Malcolm Forbes said, "Retirement kills more people than hard work ever did."
So after three decades in TV land, I began looking for "hard" work that would satisfy. My search ended with Norton Healthcare. The reason? Simple!It was that sign I drove under everyday as I left work year after year that said "Voted Best Place to Work." And after delivering bad news to viewers for so long, it seemed the perfect opportunity to switch gears and share the good news of Norton Healthcare. As manager of Prevention and Health Marketing, I get to share the exciting news about what Norton Healthcare is doing to help people stay healthy. So here I am. And I want to hear from you, to share your stories. Let me know what you're doing to make a difference by keeping yourself and others well.