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National Survey by North American Spine Society Reveals Almost Half of U.S. Adults Consider Themselves 'Couch Potatoes'; New Book Helps Get Americans 'Off Their Couches' and Exercising!

LA GRANGE, Ill. -- It's no secret that exercise is an important part of a healthy lifestyle. However, no matter how good one's intentions, exercise is often overlooked or skipped due to work hours, household chores, equipment needs, gym membership costs, social activities and more.

This spring, the North American Spine Society (NASS) kicks off its fifth annual patient education campaign with the release of a new book, written by NASS President Dr. Joel M. Press entitled, "The Couch Potato Workout: 101 Exercises You Can Do At Home!"

The Couch Potato Workout describes numerous practical and functional exercises people can do to build strength, balance and flexiblity as part of their normal daily routine. Featuring fun illustrations and helpful tips, the book helps readers benefit from exercises such as the Overhead Laundry Toss, Sideways TV Watch, Remote Wrist Lifts and Doing the Dishes Neck Circles.

"Everyone is busy and has a hard time finding the time to do exercises for the many physical problems they face or simply to stay in shape," explains Dr. Joel Press, NASS president and medical director of the Spine and Sports Institute at the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago. "I compiled these 101 exercises so even 'couch potatoes' can integrate them into a normal day. In fact, all of the exercises in the book are meant to be done at home, with no additional equipment and as part of daily activities."

The book is available for purchase on www.amazon.com and www.spine.org. All sale proceeds will be used to support rehabilitation research and training at NASS and the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago.

Also as part of its annual patient education campaign, NASS commissioned Harris Interactive to conduct a national survey of American adult exercise habits. According to the survey of 1,045 Americans, 46 percent of adults defined themselves as "couch potatoes" and 53 percent defined themselves as "athletes."*

While a majority report exercising fairly regularly (67 percent exercise a few times per week), approximately three in four adults say they would exercise more if they could fit it into their daily routines (77 percent). And a majority of people would exercise more often if they could do so at home (59 percent).

Many adults say they have procrastinated working out in order to do other activities such as watching television (47 percent), sleeping in (43 percent), doing household chores (59 percent) or working (43 percent). A substantial number of people surveyed reported doing creative things to get exercise: taking the stairs instead of elevators (75 percent); parking their cars far away in a parking lot (58 percent); and walking while talking on the phone (47 percent).

"This survey tells us that people wish there were easier ways to get the exercise they want and that they are willing to do that exercise," continued Dr. Press. "We are pleased to introduce this book of simple yet useful everyday exercises for people of all ages and athletic abilities. After all, increased activity is the key to physical fitness."

The NASS 2006 Spine Health patient education campaign complements the society's year-round dedication to patient advocacy, outreach and education. To schedule an interview with a spine care specialist in your area or for more information about Spine Health, please contact Eric Muehlbauer at muehlbauer@spine.org, or call (708) 588-8085.

Harris Interactive conducted the telephone survey on behalf of NASS February 3-6, 2006 among a nationwide cross section of 1,045 adults ages 18 and over. Figures for age, sex, race, and region were weighted where necessary to align them with their actual proportions in the population. In theory, with a probability sample of this size, one can say with 95 percent certainty that the results have a sampling error of plus or minus 3 percentage points of what they would be if the entire U.S. adult population had been polled with complete accuracy.

The North American Spine Society (NASS) is a multidisciplinary organization that advances quality spine care through education, research and advocacy. NASS members are MDs, DOs and PhDs in 22 spine-related specialties including orthopedics, neurosurgery, physiatry, pain management and other disciplines. Nurse practitioners, physician's assistants, chiropractors, physical therapists, practice administrators and other allied health care professionals involved in spine care are also represented in NASS as affiliate members.

* Respondents were asked to rate themselves on a scale of 1 to 6 where 1 represented "athlete" and 6 represented "couch potato." Respondents selecting 1-3 were defined as athletes (53 percent), and those selecting 4-6 were defined as couch potatoes (46 percent).

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