Keeping fit without exercising: Debunking the idea that "working out" will save your life (Dr. Scott Lear)

In the U.S. and other Westernized nations, exercise is often seen as a luxury that requires the time and money that only the rich can afford.

But as new research demonstrates, this idea and its accompaniments—the Lululemon yoga pants, the 6 a.m. SoulCycle class and those CrossFit backaches—are misguided. You don’t need to be rich or enjoy a life of leisure to squeeze in enough exercise. You also don’t need to go to the gym to “feel the burn.” Exercise—and its benefits—are for everyone.

The findings may seem like a subtle advance, but they are groundbreaking. In high-income countries, says Scott Lear, chair of cardiovascular prevention research at St. Paul’s Hospital and a professor at Simon Fraser University, in Canada, who led the research, exercise is “a planned occurrence” in an otherwise sedentary daily life. But in lower-income countries, the situation is reversed. There, Lear says, people “get most of their activities through work or domestic chores, and maybe getting to and from work, and pretty much do next to nothing for recreational time activity.” In other words, for many people who are active as part of their jobs, simply living their life is also saving their life.

Jessica Firger reports

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