As Americans live longer and longer, several disturbing health trends are emerging. Chronic diseases linked to obesity and other poor health habits are on the rise, such as heart disease and spinal stenosis. Public health organizations are undertaking significant efforts to figure out how to combat these conditions, and more importantly, how to get people to better take care of themselves so these conditions can be prevented in the first place.
Vaccinations keep us safe from most communicable diseases that used to kill millions of people, such as influenza or smallpox. But there is no vaccination available for something like spinal stenosis, which can be caused by many different things such as injury or a chronically sedentary lifestyle. It is also not a disease that requires a vaccination, instead, lifestyle changes are mostly the cure. Eating healthy and maintaining a healthy weight are critical, as is exercise, to preventing back pain. Physical therapy and visiting a chiropractor regularly can also help. Yoga, stretching, and exercises that strengthen your core are vital. The most serious of cases can often result in laser spine surgery. It is a technique that has seen significant progress and is now smoother than ever, but it is still a type of surgery and there are always big risks to consider when having surgery.
One of the newer and more promising trends seen so far, besides simple changes to diet and exercise, is a treadmill desks. A sedentary lifestyle is one of the biggest offenders to contributing to poor health, and a treadmill desk aims to change the sedentary part of the jobs that many Americans do in offices. By attaching a desk to the top of a treadmill, and setting the maximum speed at something fairly slow, a person can now stroll comfortably through their work day. These machines have a few different prototypes on the market that are being tested, and initial results are coming back very good.
The people with treadmill desks who used them on a daily basis maintained a healthier weight, kept the weight off, kept cholesterol low, and had a lower incidence of heart disease than another test group who only used the treadmill desks twice per week. The group that used them twice per week, however, still performed significantly better than a control group that never used a treadmill desk in the year that passed during the study. It is an exciting new idea that if adopted more widely, could have long lasting positive impacts on the health of the American people.
Millions of adults sit at a desk every day, all day, and many of them will suffer later because of it. There are many preventive measures that can be taken along the way, but not everyone will make the changes to their behavior. By encouraging and providing treadmill desks, it is likely that public health will see better results and declining rates of chronic disease among Americans. It is vital that we reverse the trends of increasing obesity and heart disease, and take care of ourselves, along with our children.