Saturday, April 5, 2008

Step it Up

I just read about an intriguing small study done in Sweden that worked "backwards" and showed that reduced exercise promoted chronic disorders and premature mortality.

They took healthy non smoker men who took no medication and without any family history of diabetes. These people walked over 3500 steps a day (measured with a pedometer) or did more than 2 hours of exercise a week. In summary, active, healthy people (just like you?).

The study had the subjects reduce their daily steps. They had them ride in elevators instead of stairs and ride in cars instead of walk or bike. They reduced their daily steps to 1500 but they kept their diets the same. That's all they did!

Within three weeks the subjects developed impaired glucose tolerance, increased triglyceride levels and 7% increase in intra abdominal (waist) fat.

Think about it working backward they created serious health risk problems in healthy guys by making them sedentary. It reminds me of the great documentary film "Supersize Me" where he developed severe health problems and obesity by eating nothing but burgers, frys and soft drinks for a month. Our bodies are perfect machines that need exercise and activity. Lay around and the machine fails.

Take home message - Start walking and prolong your life.


lesley said...

Wow... if you stop exercising, you become unhealthy... I really hope that isn't news to too many people!

I feel really sorry for the people who take part in studies like that - how long will it take them to recover back to their normal state of activity / health? The guy who took part in Super Size Me must have really damaged his body.

Is it really too hard for people these days to just exercise a little and have a sensible diet? Even the most chaotic lifestyle can stay healthy-ish with some desk based simple exercises, and careful diet choices.

Toni Brayer MD said...

lesley: I think it might be news that just reducing moderate exercise can quickly worsen your risk factors. The good news is that you can start today, eating right and walking and improve your health. It doesn't have to be an all out marathon. Small changes create big effects. Thanks.

Anonymous said...

I just did a 2 hr 45 min. 10 mile walk the other day, but I agree being consistant is important but is sometimes harder to do.

Donald said...

Well, I do not actually imagine it may work.
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