I often tell my friends and colleagues outside Israel half-seriously that the most popular national sport in Israel is eating. But to be serious, I doubt if the percentage of people doing any regular physical practice in Israel is high enough. I have, however, met enough people who walk as a special physical practice in the early morning.
This may seem better than doing nothing special except for eating, but it has a possible danger. Many regular walkers I've spoken to seem to think that walking alone is enough for maintaining or even developing their muscle strength. All the medical books I've read so far on physical well-being show that this isn't the case. Walking is barely enough even for cardiovascular endurance and definitely insufficient for muscle strength.
We lose our muscles by 1% every year if we don't do any regular muscle strength training after we reach our 30s. So by the time we reach our 70s, we lose 40% of our muscles if we do nothing special for maintaining our muscle strength. I wonder if those whose only regular physical practice is walking are aware of this possible danger.
In the park where my wife and I run every weekday morning we see quite a few walkers, mainly those in their 60s and 70s. I haven't spoken to any of them personally, but from the way they look like in terms of their (lack of) muscles, I seriously doubt if they also train their muscles.
Actually, I myself was one of such people until about ten years ago with running, which is only efficient for cardiovascular endurance, as my only regular physical practice. Since I read not only the importance of muscle strength as one of the most important factors contributing to our physical well-being, especially at an old age, but also the fact that we can start developing it at any age.
I've been trying to preach these gospels to as many family, friends and colleagues as possible, stressing that regular muscle strength training is a wise long-term physical investment. But most people I've spoken to seem to be too lazy to start after the age of 30 or so some new regular physical practice they have never done before and continue to lose their muscles by 1% steadily but surely.
My wife is the only exception so far I know personally who has been convinced by me and started muscle strength training. She still keeps doing it as well as running, swimming, resistance stretching, yoga (and mindfulness meditation, which is for our mental muscles, so to speak) regularly with me.
The kind of muscle strength training I find the most convenient is the so-called bodyweight strength training, and the best guides to bodyweight strength training I've found so far are Your Body Is Your Gym (for men) and Body by You (for women) both by Mark Lauren.