Scientists once believed that as a species, what we stopped using we would eventually lose. If that were true, we would be in serious trouble. People as a whole are more sedentary and overweight than ever before. Given the extensive research substantiating the numerous health benefits of regular exercise doesn’t change this fact that many people.

According to recent reports, more than 60% of adult Americans do not participate in regular exercise. Perhaps more alarming is that about a quarter of them report no involvement in leisure-time physical activity at all.

Less than a third of adults in the US get the recommended amount of exercise each day, and 40% are almost totally sedentary. The result is that obesity has almost overtaken smoking in the United States as the leading cause of preventable death.

Most Americans spend a day completely immobile, either sitting in front of the computer, television sets, at a desk or behind the wheel of a car. Those who live like this tend to park as closely as possible to the shopping centers or grocery stores to save steps, and they never take the stairs.

Researchers believe that this unconscionable level of the inactivity may be linked at least in part two as many as 250,000 deaths every year in the United States, nearly a quarter if all deaths.

Another study involving men who underwent two preventative medical examinations several months apart showed that those who did not improve their fitness between the first assessment and the second assessment had the highest mortality rates. In contrast, those who attempted to shape up, even just a little fared much better. Their risk was a full 444% lower than those who remained unfit.

The health benefits of regular exercise impressive. They include preventing heart disease and strokes, improving blood flow and cholesterol levels, reducing blood pressure and lowering the risk of colon, prostate, endometrial and breast cancers.