23 and 1/2 hours: What is the single best thing we can do for our health?

“A Doctor-Professor answers the old question “What is the single best thing we can do for our health” in a completely new way.  Dr. Mike Evans is founder of the Health Design Lab at the Li Ka Shing Knowledge Institute, an Associate Professor of Family Medicine and Public Health at the University of Toronto, and a staff physician at St. Michael’s Hospital.”

This video’s entertaining to watch for the visuals alone (as far as I can tell, it WAS all hand-drawn), but the points he makes are excellent.  Exercise has so many benefits, can help us in so many ways, that it IS the single best thing we can do for our health.  No matter your situation, no matter your vices or your predispositions, if you can exercise safely, it will signifcantly reduce your chances of developing some of our biggest health problems.

By extension, perhaps one of the best health policies around is to encourage exercise.  I don’t mean your doctor’s steady litany of “–and you should get more exercise, too.  See me in six months.”  I’m talking about actively making it easier for people to exercise.  Including gym membership benefits in Medicare and other health plans.  Making cities pedestrian and bike-friendly.  Supporting strong public transportation systems so that people are more likely to do without a car.  Funding parks and other safe places where people can get out and about, play sports, or just walk.

As anyone who’s tried to get on an exercise plan and failed can attest, new habits can be hard to develop.  However, making it easier, safer, and cheaper to exercise can go a long way in overcoming the “activation energy” of getting into the fitness habit.

(Cross-posted at Science Policy for All)

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