Dr. Gray's Straight Talk

Honest and blunt healthcare discussion and advice.

Posts Tagged ‘overweight’

The Simplest Workout

Posted by Dr. Gray on Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Fresh from our “Keep It Simple” mindset, is this recommendation as to the most simple way to get in shape, lose weight, increase energy, etc. There are only four steps (like I said, SIMPLE). Are you ready? Let’s go:

  1. Stop Using Machines – Workout machines are great for isolating an individual muscle group if you have a specific goal in mind. For example, if your only goal is to build a great big bicep, then use the curl machine which will isolate the bicep and brachialis muscle… also know as the “Curl Machine.” However, doing curls with free weights, dumbbells, curl bars, etc. makes you use many other muscles to stabilize and balance. This means you fire more muscles, burn more calories, strengthen more small stabilization fibers… ultimately, you get a ton more out of your workout than if you isolate with machines. How about another quick, simple tip? Fill an old gallon milk jug with water and you’ve got the perfect homemade dumbbell complete with handle that weighs just over 8 pounds.
  2. Water, Water, Water – Being dehydrated MAKES YOU FAT. Muscle glycogen (sugar energy created from carbohydrates you eat) is stored along with water. For every gram of glycogen in the muscle, there should be three of water. Dehydration forces glucose to remain in the bloodstream instead of muscle until it reaches the liver for overflow storage. When the liver is full, the glycogen (sugar) has no place to go but your fat cells. Think about it… this goes for ALL of the toxins we put in our body. The liver can only work so fast. Once it is at capacity, the only option is to store things that need processing until they can be dealt with. Water facilitates this process. Picture trying to flush a full toilet with no water in it… that’s what you’re doing if you’re not hydrating properly.
  3. Set a specific goal, and stick with it – Don’t be so vague. “I want to lose weight… I want to get stronger… I want to be healthy.” Yeah, yeah… platitudes. Be specific. “I want to lose 10 pounds in the next two months.” … or, “I want to bench press 100 pounds in three months.” … or, “I want to run a 5K in six months.” Usually, small achievable steps are more motivating and successful than big lofty goals set too far out in the future. Always keep the big goals in mind, but focus on the step in front of you.
  4. Work the Core – Not just sit-ups and crunches. Work the whole thing. Get a swiss ball, play tennis, do some planks,… whatever. Just make sure you integrate the whole core in your routine. Nobody wants a six-pack ab… that looks like it’s surrounded by a giant hot dog bun. Not only will it look silly, but it’s incredibly unstable.

Look… we’ve had this discussion on this blog time and time again. Doing the right thing doesn’t have to be complicated. It doesn’t have to involve expensive diet plans, weird foods, personal trainers, boot camps, videos, etc. Do these things help? Sure! If they are what motivates you. However, in the end, they all have a common core of tenets. Eat good food, burn more calories than you take in, drink water, and be active. BOOM!

Dr. Gray

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Pregnancy Causes Sex!!!

Posted by Dr. Gray on Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Yes. Announced recently by Trojan Research are new findings that, in fact, pregnancy causes sex. A sample of 3,000 pregnant women were interviewed and examined recently, and it was found that 97% admitted that, “Yes… by gosh, I have recently had sex!” The researchers have determined that with this new information, they can definitively say that pregnancy does indeed put individuals at more risk of experiencing sexual activity. ….

Sound ridiculous? Well apparently not if you’re a writer for BusinessWeek, the Telegraph (UK), or a commentator for MSNBC:

A new study out of the University of California – San Diego revealed that obese children were far more likely to have been infected with adenovirus 36 (AD36) than fit children. The immediate conclusion was made that the virus must be causing the obesity. BusinessWeek ran with a big headline, “Childhood Obesity Might Be Linked to Strain of Cold Virus.” Next, the Telegraph in the UK jumped in with: “Childhood cold virus could lead to development of obesity.” Not wanting to be left out, MSNBC rolled out this whopper: “Nothing to sneeze at: Common cold virus may make kids fat.”

I think it’s more likely the sex led to the pregnancy, don’t you? Obesity led to the insufficient immune response that allowed the virus to cause the symptoms of a cold. Think about it… With very few exceptions, obesity is almost entirely determined by food and exercise choices. Obese children are more likely to be living on junk food, which adds to the obesity and poor immune function. They are less likely to participate in outside play resulting in less sun exposure which, in turn, leads to Vitamin D deficiency and a weakened immune system. They are less likely to participate in regular, sustained physical activity which would help decrease their weight and increase the efficiency of their immune defenses. Any way you look at it, the lifestyle choices that have led to obesity are the same choices that have weakened the immune system to the point at which these kids are susceptible to the cold virus.

But, “Why?” you ask… “would the jump be made in the opposite direction?” What do we do when we’ve got a question around here, folks? Say it with me!… FOLLOW THE MONEY!!!!

If the virus causes obesity, we must all need a vaccine, right? If we can all be convinced that a virus causes obesity, they can roll out a new Anti-Obesity Vaccine that is so important for the kids. If you’re against it, you don’t care about the children. If you can’t afford it, the taxpayers should be responsible to make sure the children get what they need. However you look at it, Big Pharma is positioning themselves for an all-out blitz to make sure we all know about this crucial “need.” A guaranteed and mandated revenue stream… kinda sounds like the flu shots and the HPV vaccine, huh?

So now, we have a new excuse to play the victim card. It’s not your responsibility. It’s the virus that made you fat. If only you’ll just trust in Big Pharma, we’ll take good care of you. Research leader Dr Jeffrey Schwimmer said, “It is time that we moved away from assigning blame in favor of developing a level of understanding that will better support efforts at both prevention and treatment.” Translated, this statement from the study author essentially says, “Stop blaming people for their own behavior because food choice and exercise has nothing to do with obesity, and instead we need to be vaccinating children against obesity while calling it ‘treatment.'”

So… the next time your teenager comes home pregnant, make sure you rush to the doctor and get your Anti-Sex Vaccine,  because they are now at great risk of being exposed to sexual activity. If you don’t, you don’t care about your kids!

– Dr. Gray

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Preventing Diabetes

Posted by Dr. Gray on Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Diabetes currently affects almost 21 million Americans, according to the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC). Even more alarming is that the age of onset has dropped dramatically. It used to be that diabetes was primarily a “senior” disease, affecting those over age 45. Sadly, this is not the case any more.

There are two main types of diabetes: type I, which usually is diagnosed in childhood and requires insulin; and type II, which does not require insulin treatment but may require medication. Most cases (about 95 percent) are type II, which can be prevented in the overwhelming majority of cases with proper diet and exercise. What is particularly frightening is the rise in type II diabetes among children.

The effects of diabetes can be felt, literally, from head to toe, according to the CDC.

  • People with diabetes are two to four times more likely to have a stroke than those without the disease.
  • Poorly controlled blood sugar may lead to glaucoma and blindness.
  • Gum disease and high blood sugar are related.
  • Diabetes, particularly in conjunction with high cholesterol or high blood pressure, may lead to heart disease.
  • Kidney damage may result from diabetes, especially in combination with high blood pressure.
  • Diabetes has been linked to male sexual dysfunction (impotence).
  • Nerves in the feet may become damaged, sometimes leading to amputation.

Fortunately, there are much easier and less dangerous ways to not only control diabetes if you have it, but actually prevent getting it in the first place. Both the CDC and the National Institutes of Health agree that there are two basic elements to this: exercise at least 30 minutes a day, five days a week; and eat foods low in fat and reduce total caloric intake. Pay attention not only to the types of food you eat, but also the portions. The USDA Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends the following:

  • Eat a variety of fruits (2 cups per day for a 2,000 calorie diet) instead of just juice. You can have these fresh, frozen, dried or canned. An example would be: one small banana, one large orange and ¼ cup of dried apricots or peaches.
  • Make your veggies more colorful by adding dark green (broccoli, kale, spinach) and bright orange (carrots, sweet potatoes, pumpkins and other winter squashes). Also add more beans and peas to the mix (kidney beans, black beans, garbanzo beans, lentils).
  • Eat more calcium for healthy bones. The USDA recommends three cups of low-fat or fat-free milk per day. You can substitute the same amount of low-fat yogurt and/or low-fat cheese (1 ½ ounces of cheese is equal to one cup of milk). Try lactose-free milk if you have trouble digesting dairy products.
  • Focus on whole grains. Make them at least half of your total grain intake. Try to eat at least 3 ounces of whole grains per day. This is equal to one slice of bread, 1 cup of breakfast cereal or ½ cup of cooked rice or pasta.
  • Go lean with the protein. Opt for lean meats such as chicken or fish. Be sure to prepare it in a healthy manner, such as baking or broiling. Don’t forget that nuts, beans and peas are also good sources of protein.

The point is that while it might seem that preventing a major disease such as diabetes is a daunting task, it actually isn’t. All it really takes is common sense, a bit of creative planning and a positive attitude. With these three things, you are well on your way to success.

– taken from Sweet Success, To Your Health March, 2008 (Vol. 02, Issue 03)

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Top 10 Exercise or Fitness Mistakes

Posted by Dr. Gray on Tuesday, September 8, 2009

How many times have you heard it? Exercise, exercise, exercise… It seems nowadays doctors, friends, family, and total strangers are quick to point out that you need to exercise more. But, how often do you hear what not to do, or how to exercise correctly? This article is not going to be an exhaustive concordance on proper exercise techniques, but a short list of the top ten mistakes associated with exercise. As you begin, or continue, an exercise routine, keep these mistakes in mind so you can avoid their consequences.

  1. Using cardio equipment improperly by hanging on to the equipment or slouching. – If there are instructions, or a diagram of the equipment you’re using, study it carefully. Stand or sit up straight. Maintain good posture. If you are finding yourself hanging or leaning on the machine, you’re fatigued and should take a break.
  2. Losing focus instead of practicing mindful exercise and thinking about the muscles you’re working until you can feel the resistance in those areas. – Concentrate on the reason you are performing each exercise. This focus will help you get more out of your workouts in less time, while assuring you use proper biomechanics.
  3. Thinking cardio is enough and skipping strength training exercises. – True rehabilitation and long-term improvements only come by strengthening your muscles. “Strength training” does not necessarily mean “body building,” but increasing muscle strength and stability.
  4. Failing to vary your routine by adding an extra workout per week, increasing your workout by 5-10 minutes, using interval training or adding an incline. – Just as your body can build up a resistance certain medications, it will also “get used to” the same activity performed over and over. Confusing your body by varying your routine will help stave off the dreaded “plateau effect.”
  5. Believing you can eat anything if you exercise, even though one extra “treat” each day can more than make up for the calories burned in a workout. – All the exercise or gadgets in the world won’t help you lose weight, get in shape, or live healthier if you don’t follow a healthy eating plan. What all the infomercials fail to tell you is that all of those hard-body models using their equipment tailor their diet to get them to their goals.
  6. Performing strength-training exercises improperly by failing to adjust the seat height and weight of the machines before you use them. – I can’t stress the importance of doing your exercises correctly enough. This is probably the single most common cause for exercise-related pain or injury.
  7. Setting unrealistic expectations. If you want results, you’ve got to do the work. – No brainer here. Don’t expect to be pain free with ripped biceps after doing curls for two weeks. Developing strength and changing how your body functions is a process of retraining the entire structure, there is a process that the body must go through to achieve lasting results.
  8. Rushing your reps, which raises blood pressure, increases your risk for joint injury and compromises your results. – For the most part, slow and controlled movements will give you better results. It’s not how many reps you perform, it’s how you complete those that you do.
  9. Consuming sports drinks and energy bars during a moderate workout that lasts less than 60 minutes. – Sports drinks and energy bars are nothing more than drugs designed to stimulate a temporary reaction in the body. These can lead to pushing your body beyond its limits and putting you at risk for injury. Stick with water and a proper dietary plan that includes a proper balance of carbs and proteins.
  10. Burning yourself out. Motivation is a great thing, but starting off too strong can lead to quick burnout, soreness and eventually giving up. – Be realistic with yourself. If you’ve not been doing a regular exercise routine, what makes you think you’ll stick to an hour-a-day plan. For that matter… what makes you think your body can handle it? Start off slowly, and gradually increase the amount of time and strenuous components of your routine. Remember, you’re doing this so you can live a long, healthy life. Make sure you don’t forget to include family time, work time, and individual time when you’re planning your schedule.

Working out may seem like it should come naturally, but even the most experienced gym-goers have room to learn. We all make mistakes, but if you’re spending the time and energy on a workout, you may as well reap the benefits.

Posted in General Health, Stretches & Exercises | Tagged: , , , , , | 2 Comments »

Schoolchildren WILL Eat Healthy Lunches

Posted by Dr. Gray on Monday, August 31, 2009

Great news for parents: Schoolchildren are willing to eat healthy lunches. The days of corn dogs, tater tots, sloppy joes and french fries are slowly being replaced with apple slices, turkey hot dogs and vegetables.

For years people have underestimated children’s willingness to eat healthier foods and schools’ ability to produce appealing, nutritious lunch options. According to a recent University of Minnesota study, school lunch sales don’t decline when healthier meals are served. Children will eat fruits and vegetables if they are presented to them. Moreover, nutritious lunches don’t necessarily cost schools more to produce.

The research, published in the Review of Agricultural Economics, evaluated five years of data involving 330 Minnesota public school districts to determine compliance with federal standards for calories, nutrients and fats. Results suggested that nutritious foods like fruits and vegetables are actually less costly than processed foods, which offsets the higher labor costs involved with producing healthier lunches.

Change is always tough – to make healthy lunches a reality, many school districts will have to adjust by upgrading their kitchens and training their staff to prepare fresh, whole foods in bulk. But if the results achieved in Minnesota can be replicated on a national level, healthy eating at school can finally be a regular part of American life.

To Your Health, January, 2008 (Vol. 02, Issue 01)

Dr. Gray’s comments: You want to show me real “health care reform?” This study was done two years ago and many other similar studies have proven this again and again. For years, we’ve known that providing healthier meals to our schoolchildren actually costs the school district less than providing processed, enriched, frozen, crap. We’ve also known that, although they complain, kids prefer the healthier meals to the other crap. Do you know the number one health affliction in our kids today? … Obesity. Why? Because we are feeding them crap! They’re getting processed, enriched, sugary, artificial junk that their bodies don’t recognize as real food. And we’ve known this for years! But how many of your kids continue to get lunches consisting of chicken nuggets, tater tots, rectangular pizzas, and nachos? Next time someone from the government says they want to “improve health care” in this country, ask them why they won’t improve what they’re already doing before they try to screw the rest of it up!

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10 Ways to Teach Your Children the Value of a Healthy Lifestyle

Posted by Dr. Gray on Monday, August 17, 2009

  1. Practice what you preach. It’s considerably easier to convince your children to adopt healthy habits if you’re doing the same.
  2. Involve the whole family. Establishing a regular pattern of exercising as a family accomplishes two important things: It keeps everyone in shape and serves as important bonding time.
  3. Limit screen time. Too much time watching television or playing video/computer games can lead to excessive snacking and a sedentary lifestyle.
  4. Make it fun. Let your children discover which specific healthy activities they truly enjoy. If they don’t like it, they won’t stick with it.
  5. Focus on the positives. Celebrate your children’s successes and help them develop a healthy self-image. Low self-esteem can lead to poor eating, exercise and lifestyle habits.
  6. Set goals and limits. If goals are excessively restrictive or vague, children are less likely to rise to the challenge. Establish clear nutrition and exercise goals (dessert two times a week; a half-hour walk five times a week, etc.).
  7. Reward wisely. Rather than rewarding children with desserts or sugary snacks (a common tactic), find healthy ways to show a job well done.
  8. Turn them into chefs. Get your children involved in planning and preparing meals; then sit down at the dinner table together and enjoy the healthy meal you’ve created together.
  9. Knowledge is power. Teach children the value of reading food labels and being aware of the healthy (and not so healthy) ingredients in the foods they eat.
  10. Don’t pass the buck. You’re the parent – that means it’s up to you to teach your children about good health. School and health care providers can only do so much.

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Five Ways To Kick the Sugar Habit and Avoid Diabetes

Posted by Dr. Gray on Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Crave sweets? How many times have you told yourself, “I shouldn’t…” but had an urge you couldn’t resist?

Sugar addiction, whether you know it or not, is the most prevalent eating disorder in the country. More than one and a half million new cases of diabetes are diagnosed every year. That is an incredible figure! According to death certificate reports, diabetes contributed to a total of 233,619 deaths in 2005, the latest year for which data on contributing causes of death are available. However, diabetes is likely to be under-reported as a cause of death. But, what is the “epidemic” or “pandemic” we’re all hearing about? Swine Flu??? I’m not discounting the seriousness of this disease, but there have been less than 50 deaths in America related to the swine flu virus… and nearly 250,000 deaths per year due to diabetes and pancreatic exhaustion. Where’s the perspective?

To understand better the reasons for this onslaught of diabetes, we need to understand how the body processes sugars. Basically, sugars come in two forms: simple and complex. Simple sugars are composed of one to three molecules, while complex sugars are hundreds or thousands of sugar molecules linked together. Simple sugar sources are table sugar, high-fructose corn syrup, honey, etc. The more simple the sugar, the sweeter it tastes. Complex sugar sources include potatoes, tomatoes, whole grain breads, cereals, pasta, etc. The beauty of complex sugars are all of the corresponding nutrients that accompany them… vitamins, minerals, enzymes, and other essential compounds. As sugar is “refined,” converted to simple sugar and thus sweeter, all of the supporting nutrients are stripped away, leaving a very sweet substance… with no nutritional value.

When the body ingests sugar, it must convert it down to glucose, or blood sugar. With simple sugars, there is relatively little breakdown the body needs to do, so it rapidly goes right into the bloodstream. Whereas, with complex sugars, the body has to breakdown very long molecular chains and the glucose is metered into the blood more slowly over time.

Next step: getting the sugar to the tissues. In response to blood sugar levels, the pancreas releases insulin to transport the sugar to the organs and tissues. A big spike in blood sugar levels, such as after drinking a soda (high amounts of  simple sugar), forces the pancreas to release all available insulin as quickly as possible to respond to the high amounts of sugar dumped rapidly into the blood. This taxes the pancreas to the brink, after which it must work extra hard to produce more insulin in preparation for the next spike. With high amounts of insulin, the sugars are rapidly transported and either used up or stored for later (making you fat). Now, your blood sugar level dive bombs and you experience what’s known as the “sugar crash.” With complex sugars, glucose is slowly released into the blood like a “time released capsule” allowing the pancreas to release small amounts of insulin and keep a good supply ready while producing more. In this way, the pancreas is never pushed to the edge or forced to work beyond its capacity.

Analogy time: Two identical cars. The driver of car #1 always floors the accelerator, then slams on the brakes at the next light. The driver of car #2 gently accelerates and then coasts to a slow, controlled stop at the next light. Who’s car is going to last longer? Obviously, car #1 is going to break down or need extensive repairs much sooner than car #2. In the same way, the constant barrage of rapid stop-and-go on the pancreas leads to abnormal wear-and-tear, and eventually… the pancreas wears out. That’s a simplified version of diabetes in a nutshell.

So, how do you avoid diabetes? Drive smart… check and change the oil… get the right gas… you following the analogy? Make smart health choices… practice preventative health care… eat the right foods… etc.

Still craving sweets? First, detox the liver and colon (more on that in another post). Then check out these 5 ways to kick the sugar habit:

  1. Exercise regularly – Rigorous exercise brings a rush of endorphins (feel good chemicals) normally associated with high sugar intake… this is what your body is craving, and one of the main components of sugar addiction
  2. Graze On Healthy Snacks Throughout The Day – The full feeling after a meal turns to hunger in a matter of three or four hours, leaving you susceptible to sugar cravings
  3. Drink Water. Lots Of Water – A craving is often a sign of plain dehydration, not a cry for food
  4. Cut Back On Caffeine – Plain and simple, caffeine can cause a drop in blood sugar levels. Switch to herbal tea if possible
  5. Grab A Piece Of All-Natural Fruit – Reward yourself with a piece of fruit, such as a pear, apple or orange. Fructose sugars don’t send blood sugar levels on a rollercoaster ride, and the fiber in the fruit will fill you up

References:

Engebretson, J; The Truth About Sweets; To Your Health; February, 2007 (Vol. 01, Issue 02)

National Diabetes Statistics, 2007; National Diabetes Information Clearinghouse

Posted in General Health, Nutrition | Tagged: , , , , , | 4 Comments »

Weight Gain Inevitable in Winter Months?

Posted by Dr. Gray on Thursday, October 2, 2008

I read the following article a few years ago, and thought I’d repost it here… along with a few observations.

Taken from Tulsa World: College freshmen have the world laid out before them like an all-you-can-eat buffet. And some of them are eating it all up, literally. Legend goes that university froshes gulp down junk food, fattening foods, alcohol and late-night meals, consuming more calories than in their high school days and getting less exercise. The result is notoriously named the “freshman 15,” as in 15 pounds gained. The freshman 15 is no urban legend according to a study from Cornell University that said college freshmen gain an average of 4.2 pounds in their first three months on campus. “The main reason is a drastic change in lifestyle,” said Angelyn Holmes, coordinator for campus life and wellness at Oklahoma State University. “Most are leaving home for the first time. They have the freedom to go and eat pizza at 11 o’clock at night, and there is unlimited access to food.”

Although this particular article refers only to first-year college students, it could easily apply to the majority of the American population. Think about your environment as we get into the “back-to-school” period. Whether we’re going back to school, or refocusing at work, summer is over and we begin to concentrate on more important things... More important things? What could be more important than your health?

Unfortunately, most of us don’t put enough value on the health benefits gained from exercise and relaxation… from “play.” During the summer months, we spend our time being active, getting out with friends, walking the dogs, working in the yard, going to the lake, riding bikes, swimming, reading on the porch with a nice glass of tea, etc. This list could go on and on. The fact is, we tell ourselves all year long that, “As soon as summer gets here, I’m going to _____.” When summer arrives, we’re so excited to relax and play… we don’t even realize the changes taking place in our bodies.

You don’t “feel better” just because it’s summer. You don’t lose weight just because it’s warmer. You don’t eat better just because it’s nice out. You’re not happier just because it’s that time of year. You feel better, lose weight, eat right, and are happier… because you choose to be! Basically, you finally allow yourself to let go a little. You begin to play. Is that the only difference in thought? In the colder months, we work… and when it gets warm, we play?

Let me ask you this… if you’ve convinced yourself that summer is for play, and then it’s time to concentrate on “more important stuff,” what happens to all of that “important stuff” during the summer? Do more businesses fail during the summer? No. Does production decrease in the summer? No. Do projects stop and wait for summer to be over? No. Is there more sickness during the summer because you’re trying to play and work? No.

So let’s follow this out to a logical conclusion: When we are only focused on working and “busy stuff,” we end up less healthy, less energy, more weight, less happy. When we allow ourselves to “play,” we end up more healthy, more energy, less weight, more happy. When we play, we choose to get exercise whether we are consciously aware of it or not. When we are too focused on “busy stuff,” we don’t have time for that. Who decides what you’ve got time for? YOU DO!

Healthy/unhealthy… lose weight/gain weight… pain/ease… energetic/tired… happy/sad… it all comes down to the choices you make. Do you choose to go for a walk, or do you plop your lazy butt down on the couch? Do you choose to drink juice, or soda? Do you have a glass of wine, or a twelve-pack of beer? Do you eat a handful of nuts, or smoke a cigarette? Do you have friends over for a boardgame evening, or do you eat crap while watching a movie?

We discussed “play” above, and it’s importance in our daily lives. Keep in mind, there’s good play and bad play. You can play football with a bunch of friends, or you can play football on the video game. Both are “play,” but which one do you think you’ll get the most out of? Ultimately, it returns to your choice.

Instead of slowing down your activity level this fall and winter, make the choice to continue playing. Don’t stop doing the things that helped you feel better over the summer. Playtime does not have to stop! It may need to change, but it doesn’t need to stop. Can’t swim at the lake anymore? Swim at the local YMCA or healthclub. Can’t play tennis in the snow? Enroll in a yoga class. Can’t have that backyard cookout? Have some friends over to play cards. You know what I’m talking about… don’t choose to be complacent. Don’t decide to wait for next summer.

Choose to play.

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Exercise Can Reverse Effects of Inactivity

Posted by Dr. Gray on Monday, September 8, 2008

Few things can be as hazardous to a person’s health as physical inactivity, which has been linked to numerous diseases and can reduce one’s lifespan by several years. A recent study shows that even for people who have been inactive for prolonged amounts of time, a few months of regular exercise can reverse many of the negative effects of inactivity.

In the study, 53 overweight, middle-aged people who had been sedentary for the previous six months were asked to participate in a six-month exercise program. At the start of the trial, at the end of the sedentary period and again at the end of the exercise program, the researchers measured 17 different factors that can increase the risk of cardiovascular disease, including waist size, body mass index, cholesterol levels, the presence of visceral fat, and sensitivity to insulin. As could be expected, waist sizes expanded, visceral fat levels increased considerably, and more signs of metabolic syndrome appeared during the six months the people were inactive. In the six months of exercise that followed, however, a dramatic turnaround ensued, as 13 of the 17 factors measured at the start of the study either reverted completely to baseline or improved beyond their baseline levels.

So, what are you waiting for? It’s time to get off the couch, get on your feet, and start exercising – today!

Robbins JL, Slentz CA, Houmard JA, et al. Exercise training to reverse the detrimental effects of physical inactivity on cardiovascular risk. Abstract #2348. Presented at the 53rd annual meeting of the American College of Sports Medicine, Denver, Colo., June 2, 2006.

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